MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After months of speculation about its future in south Minneapolis, the long-running institution Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant says it is closing for good.

The restaurant posted on their Facebook page that they would be closing their doors on Dec. 31.

Pepitos Mexican Restaurant has been a mainstay in south Minneapolis for nearly a half century. The family business exploded in the ’90s. Pepitos was counted among the top 300 independent restaurants in the country.

But the business owners hit a streak of bad luck and bad timing.

Joe and Sue Minjares opened their family restaurant in 1971. In October, they announced they were preparing to sell the eatery after a series of setbacks, including pulmonary fibrosis that’s left Joe tethered to an oxygen tank.

Joe Minjares bought the Parkway Theater next door to the restaurant in 2007, just before the 2008 recession hit. More recently, a computer hacker stole customer data, setting the company back further.

Then, Pepitos lost its liquor license after falling behind on sales tax payments.

The family has said that Pepitos Deli would remain open at 46th Street and Nicollet Avenue, even if the restaurant itself closes.

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