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The word is out: Lopez family selling Mi Nidito legacy restaurant

Mi Nidito closes one chapter, new owners share what's next
Mi Nidito
Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 21:00:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The story of a beloved South Tucson restaurant is turning a new page. The family that has run Mi Nidito for generations is ready for someone else to write their next chapter.

In 1952 Ernesto and Alicia Lopez opened their "little nest," or nidito, to give new friends and neighbors a warm, delicious meal.

Ever since, the family earned a stellar reputation in South Tucson.

The reviews are so good, they persuaded former president Bill Clinton to sit down for lunch. But owner Jimmy Lopez says their legacy is more than the big names who dine there.

“It’s not the celebrities that make Mi Nidito, it’s the locals. It’s the regulars. The people in Tucson have made Mi Nidito what it is,” Lopez said.

Lopez, the grandson of Alicia and Ernesto Lopez, is the third generation to run the kitchen. While he and his younger brother hoped the next generation would take over, he says it's best to have someone new care for their legacy.

“We’ve had a good run. Seventy-two years. Sooner or later it had to happen. I just turned 70. I’ve been here 53 years. My younger brother Ernie, he wants to retire also,” Lopez said.

Now, a final sale with a restaurant that was once competition is just days away.

The Lopez family says the beloved South Tucson restaurant is in good hands.

The owners of Guillermo's Double L Restaurant have been trying to buy Mi Nidito for years. Now, Lopez says they have a deal.

”We had the future owner make us the best offer. Edgar Gonzalez and Candy Gonzalez and I’m very confident that they are going to continue the legacy of Mi Nidito.”

Edgar Gonzalez sat down with KGUN 9 to share his plans in carrying on the legacy.

“It’s not going to change, everything's the same. Thank God Ernie and Jimmy, they’re going to stay here as my mentors, they’re going to guide me out here. And they’re going to always come here because this is theirs,” said Gonzalez.

Jimmy Lopez thanked the community for the endless support, and is hopeful the support will continue throughout the transition.

MORE: Mi Nidito famously remains Absolutely Arizona

See Mi Nidito's history on Absolutely Arizona

Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.