The Can, a bar-only replacement for Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant, plans to open this summer

"The CAN coming soon" sign
Donate Today

A longtime Naperville establishment that closed earlier this year is returning soon in a different form as a bar-only tavern.

In January 2024, Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant shut its doors at 1270 E. Chicago Ave. after 47 years in Naperville. Its cantina, known to patrons as “The Can” is coming this summer to 634 E. Ogden Ave., replacing Miss Kitty’s Saloon.

One door closes, another one opens

The Can will bring back its drink menu, which includes margaritas, beer, and mixed drinks. Its owners – Matt and Sandy Rocush – are planning for a soft opening in the middle of June, and then a grand opening in July.

According to a Facebook post from the owners, Matt plans to build a small kitchen in the back, and they may introduce a limited menu in the future, including “homemade chips and salsa, maybe some tacos, maybe a bar menu.” Patrons will be welcome to bring in outside food once the establishment opens.

According to a friend of the owners and Pepe’s regular James Bernicky, the owners are planning on bringing live music to The Can.

Bernicky is “thrilled” to see the new location coming together.

“(Matt and Sandy Rocush) always just had a very welcoming place, and a very friendly and community-oriented atmosphere,” said Bernicky. “They’re just trying to run someplace that people can relax, have fun, and feel good about themselves.”

Why did Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant move?

Pepe’s old location, as well as all the other businesses in the Eagle Crest shopping center, were purchased by Heinen’s Grocery Stores.

The grocer plans to demolish the entire strip mall and rework the parking lot to fix flooding issues. Heinen’s owners are working with the City of Naperville on the processes necessary to redevelop the 7.3-acre property into their grocery store.

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!