Pepito's set to close after 46-year-run

A 46-year run as a staple for Mexican food in south Minneapolis is coming to an end for Pepito's, which announced that it would be shuttering its doors on Facebook Tuesday. 

The restaurant on the corner of 48th and Chicago will officially close Dec. 31 after being sold to an unnamed buyer, with the next-door Parkway Theater already being sold as well. 

Parkway will continue to operate as a theater, with the new owners looking for a Mexican restaurant to take over the Pepitos location. Meanwhile, the Pepitos Deli at 46th and Nicollet will remain open, according to an employee with knowledge of the matter.

Owner Joe Minjares has been sick with pulmonary fibrosis for some years now, leaving the longtime actor and standup comedian in need of a lung transplant, unable to work at his own establishment.

To make matters worse, Minjares says his business never recovered from the Great Recession nor a security breach at its deli a few years ago, surrendering Pepito's liquor license in September after falling behind on state tax payments.

 I"t's almost cruel to the restaurant to see it fall like it has," Minjares said. "But I don't worry about it. I take it one day at a time."