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Mexican vegan restaurant in Denton has to close and switches to take-away

A vegan Mexican restaurant in Denton is closing its business: Pepitas, a family-owned restaurant in Denton that was a spin-off of Milpa Kitchen & Cantina, is closing its location at 1115 W. Hickory St. #113. It will not stop serving vegan food, however.

According to the Landeros family, which owns Pepitas, the restaurant will be converted to a virtual/ghost restaurant and will continue to offer takeout food and drinks. The transition will take place in mid-July.

“We have decided to close our store after carefully considering a number of factors,” the announcement said. “While this marks the end of an era, we are excited to begin a new phase. Although the store will be closed, you will still be able to order breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our catering service and cantina menu will also continue and we are excited to continue serving you in this way.”

Pepitas is just one of three restaurants owned by the Landeros family. It began as an offshoot of Milpa, a popular and authentic Mexican restaurant they opened in 2008.

They also recently opened Wild Cactus, a more upscale version of Milpa, near Denton Square. It offers their famous margaritas in a modern cantina setting, along with an expanded menu that also includes tapas and other small bites.

Pepitas was born in 2020 when the Landeros’ son, Edgar, decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle and go vegan. Originally, it was a restaurant within a restaurant in Milpa, with its own space and a menu featuring skillful vegan interpretations of dishes like nachos with black beans and queso and a choice of jackfruit chicken tinga, soy al pastor, jackfruit brisket birria or Beyond Meat ground beef; and portobello fajitas with onions, peppers, zucchini, squash and portobello mushrooms.

The business was so successful that they expanded to Hickory Street to better serve the UNT population. However, the Hickory Street businesses report little customer traffic, and this is even more true in the summer.

Whether vegan or not, the Landeros’ food has a clear taste thanks to the high-quality ingredients and careful preparation.

The Landeros family, originally from Zacatecas in northern Mexico, specializes in authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes based on family recipes. They have received national attention: In 2018, siblings Jorge and Cecilia Landeros joined Lidia celebrates Americaa PBS series featuring chef Lidia Bastianich, who visited the Landeros and prepared Milpa’s signature tamales with them.

They will be closing the Pepitas store on July 14th, and while dine-in will no longer be available, they will continue to offer their food and margaritas for takeout. Order at pepitasrestaurant.com.

“We want to remind everyone that Wild Cactus is just a few minutes away in downtown Denton,” they say. “The vision at this location is to completely expand our kitchen and offer more vegan options. We will also expand our hours to seven days a week and serve brunch, lunch and dinner.”

They end with a thank you:

“We want to extend our deepest gratitude to the Denton community for their support and love over the past three years. We are incredibly grateful for the memories, relationships and experiences. This transition marks a new chapter in our journey and we invite you to join us as we continue to evolve and grow.”