Minneapolis Mexican grill Pepitos will close at the end of 2017

Pepitos has been a mainstay in the neighborhood for nearly half a century.
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The popular Twin Cities Tex-Mex restaurant Pepitos will close at the end of the year.

The Mexican grill made the announcement on its Facebook page, saying its last day open will be Dec. 31.

"We would love to see you all one last time," the message added.

Owner Joe Minjares has been battling pulmonary fibrosis since 2011. Mounting medical bills and other financial burdens piled up, putting stress on his life situation and the restaurant.

So his friends turned to the community for help.

A GoFundMe account set up on Minjares' behalf raised more than $39,000. And some local celebrities – including Louie Anderson and MST3K's Joel Hodgson – held a couple benefits at the adjacent Parkway Theater to help pitch in.

In mid-November, the GoFundMe said Minjares was at home and out of the hospital, "no oxygen required" – some good news for the south Minneapolis staples.

According to the Pepitos website, Joe and his wife Sue bought the restaurant in 1971, when it was still called The Colonial Inn. A few years later, they changed the joint's beer-and-pizza format to Tex-Mex and renamed it Pepitos.

Unfortunately, it's on its last legs. (You can still get your fix at the nearby deli location however, the restaurant said.)

"We are heartbroken too but, 47 years was an amazing run!!!" the restaurant replied to one Facebook commenter, and writing to another: " We are a big part of Southside and it's going to be hard to say good bye. Feeling the love and support from all of you means the world to us."

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