Dayton restaurant closes after 33 years

DAYTON — The Pepito’s Mexican restaurant at 2412 Catalpa Drive in Dayton, which was founded in 1980, has closed, according to Chris Bucio, the son of the restaurant’s co-founder and owner, Ramon Bucio.

A second Pepito’s restaurant in Kettering remains open and will not be affected by the Dayton restaurant’s closing, according to that restaurant’s manager.

“Thirty-three years is a remarkable run for any business, but in the restaurant/bar business, it’s like 100 years,” Chris Bucio said.

“My father Ramon Bucio created the concept of Pepito’s with his brother Ignacio Bucio in 1980, and by the mid-1980s, Pepito’s became arguably the most well-regarded Mexican restaurant in the Miami Valley. In its heyday, there were six Pepito’s stretching all the way north to Sidney,” Bucio said.

His father and uncle “helped teach Daytonians how to enjoy and experience Mexican cuisine and culture at a time when Hispanics were not as easily accepted,” Bucio said.

The increasing prevalence of drugs and violence in the neighborhood surrounding the Dayton restaurant was a factor in the decision to close, Bucio said. About 12 people were employed at the restaurant, many of whom were Bucio’s family members, he said.

The Dayton Pepito’s becomes the fourth restaurant in the Dayton area that has been in existence for at least 25 years to close or announce an intention to close within the past year, joining l’Auberge in Kettering and Benham’s in Dayton, both of which closed in 2012, and The Grub Steak, which announced in January that it will close Feb. 23.

George Andrade, manager of the Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant at 3618 Wilmington Pike in Kettering, said the closing of the Dayton location will not affect his restaurant, which was founded in 1983, three years after the Dayton location opened. The Kettering location is open seven days a week for dinner, but no longer has lunch service.

“I lease the business,” Andrade said. “We’re still thriving.”

A Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina’s opened at 1130 Central Ave. in the east end of the former Roberd’s complex in West Carrollton in late 2008, but the restaurant closed five months later.

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