A dish from El Burrito Mercado in St. Paul. Photo by Todd Buchanan.
Pepito’s, a South Minneapolis favorite for more than 40 years, closed at the end of 2017, but now El Burrito Mercado, a favorite from St. Paul’s west side, has announced that it will be opening a second location there called El Burrito Minneapolis. The move was facilitated by local investors and entrepreneurs Ward Johnson and Eddie Landenberger, who bought both the restaurant space and the adjacently owned Parkway Theater from Pepito’s owner, Joe Minjares for $1.4 million. (If you want to hear something cute about Johnson’s ties to the Pepito building, ask him about his first date with his wife.)
El Burrito Mercado’s owner, Milissa Silva-Diaz, will be sharing the best parts of her original restaurant with this second location, including the live music, takeout deli option, and tamale-making classes. Come June, go there with the expectation of delicious Mexican food, a warm and lively atmosphere, and use of Pepito’s old patio.
As for The Parkway Theater, catch your last movies before Johnson and Landenberger do a deep remodel on it. (Your last chances include Planet of the Apes (the 1968 version!) as well as the Kaiju Movie and the Bow Wow Film Festival, which, yes, is a short movie festival all about man’s best friend.) Although they’re remodeling, Johnson and Landenberger aren’t trying to change The Parkway’s offbeat, neighborhood appeal, though. They’re trying to revitalize it. When they reopen The Parkway in May, there will still be indie and cult classic movies, but sometimes, the films might be pared down to one showing a week to make room for speakers and more live performances.
While May and June may seem far away, swing by the original Burrito Mercado to give your tastebuds a sneak preview and, for a you’re-almost-there indie movie fix, check out the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival April 12-28.