It’s a real family affair at Bemidji’s new Tapatios Mexican restaurant – Bemidji Pioneer
BEMIDJI — Ruben Aceves II, owner and chef of the recently opened Tapatios restaurant in Bemidji, says his specialty is not on the menu.
“My specialty is working out,” Aceves said with a laugh. “We knew it would be a lot of work to open our restaurant.”
Aceves and his wife, Cecilia, opened their business at 1204 Paul Bunyan Drive NW last weekend after nearly a year of planning. The three eldest of their five children – Reuben III (22), Brian (20) and Jonathan (18) – are also heavily involved, as is Reuben III’s wife, Sarah. The youngest Michael (14) and Vanessa (11) are enrolled in Bemidji schools.
Reuben II and Cecilia grew up on the same street in the Mexican town of Guadalajara, Jalisco, where the locals are nicknamed Tapatios.
They left Mexico when their eldest son was a baby and moved to Illinois in 1999, where Reuben II joined his sister working at a Mexican restaurant. It was there that he honed his cooking skills, although he said he learned some things from his mother in Guadalajara.
In 2009, the growing family moved to Minnesota to open their own restaurant, Little Fiesta, in Little Falls. They sold it in 2020, and after spending a short time in Texas, they started looking for a new restaurant in the northern states.
“We didn’t like Texas,” Cecilia said. Too hot. So we decided to come back to Minnesota.
When they passed through Bemidji on their quest for a new location, they decided this was the place for them.
“We saw the beautiful lake and loved this town immediately,” Cecilia said. “We wanted to wait for the perfect place to name our restaurant Tapatios.”
Jonathan agreed saying, “I mostly liked Bemidji because of her beauty. It’s in the middle of the woods. It is very picturesque. Just watch out for deer.
The restaurant currently seats around 55 customers and has been very busy in its first week with people queuing at the door at times during the dinner rush. Owners hope to add patio seating next year.
It is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information and to see the full menu, visit