El Amigo Pepe to close restaurant, transition to food truck

Published 2:02 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

NILES — A local restaurant will soon be closing its doors but the window to its food truck will remain open.

El Amigo Pepe owners Jose and Ana Mendez took to Facebook Friday to announce their decision to permanently close their restaurant, located at 226 E. Main St., and transition to their popular food truck full-time. The last day the restaurant will be open is Saturday, Feb. 25.

El Amigo Pepe originally opened in Niles in 2004. In 2015, the Melendezes decided to operate their business seasonally out of a food truck before opening the East Main restaurant in 2017.  While the business was able to survive the pandemic because of the food truck, the current business climate made operating the dine-in restaurant difficult.

“We really wanted it to work this time around and stay at the restaurant but unfortunately, business has changed so much over the last few years, and we discovered that this works best for our family,” they said.

According to the couple, El Amigo Pepe will pick up around March with the food truck and location updates will still be posted on its Facebook and official website. The couple said that their food truck has been a hit in recent years.

“We had double the success with half the amount of resources needed,” they said. “With such a high demand for catering services, this will allow us to better accommodate your catering needs.”

The Mendezes said transitioning to the food truck full-time will allow the couple to spend more time with family.

“We’ve loved every second of the restaurant business,” they said. “It brought us closer to all you guys who we now consider family. As many of you know, our top priority has always been family. We have seven grandkids and counting. We cherish our family time and leaving the restaurant behind will allow us more time to live a more relaxed life with family. It has been an honor serving the Niles community for the past 20 years.”

While the journey has been bumpy at times, the Melendezes thank the Niles community for its ongoing support as they look forward to the future.

“We truly appreciate all you who have supported us and followed us around through all these years. It has been amazing watching your families grow, seeing your kids go off to college, get married and have babies… Thank you for this beautiful and life changing opportunity. We’ll still be around.. We look forward to seeing you at the food truck.”