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Pepe's Mexican Restaurant namesake passes away

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Julian “Pepe” Gonzalez died on April 19, leaving behind a legacy that included 60 years in the restaurant business as a member of Oklahoma City’s first family of Mexican food.

Gonzalez owned Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant on April 23, 1982, then Laredo’s in 1986. Pepe’s has been in operation ever since; Laredo’s closed in 2005 after the property was sold to Chesapeake and reopened in 2009 as Casa de Los Milagros, which is operated by Julian Gonzalez Jr.

I fondly remember countless trips to Pepe’s on Wednesday evenings for the $3.99 cheese enchiladas with chili gravy when I was a starving college student at Oklahoma Christian.

Gonzalez’s wife of 51 years, Taide, is a member of the Alvarado family, which opened El Charro in the 1930s then opened the extraordinarily popular El Charrito chain. Pepe and his wife met when he took a job at El Charrito.

You can read an extensive obituary here, it’s worth the time. It paints a picture of an extraordinary life that won’t soon be forgotten.

Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene. Read more ›

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