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Retirement, opportunities force ModMex to close

Six nights.

Fans of ModMex have six nights to eat the food.

Owner Jose Rios is sad to close his family’s restaurant at 1700 Toledo Road, Elkhart. 

“It’s really bittersweet. I’ve tried to prolong it as long as I can,” he said Tuesday afternoon, hours after the restaurant posted on Facebook that its last day would be Sept. 26.

His parents, Octavio and Norma Rios, were the “backbone” of the place and want to retire to Mexico.

“Without their help, there’s no way I could continue,” he said.

As the name suggests, the restaurant that opened Nov. 11, 2011, offered modern Mexican food. The guacamole came in seven varieties, including bacon and goat cheese. Rios opened the place with friends and family and offered lunch and dinner, though it closed recently at lunch and is open 5 to 9 p.m Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“Life changes. Sometimes, you just have to let some things go to get other opportunities in life.”

Rios took a full-time job about a year after opening the restaurant and was recently promoted at Dexter Axle. The new position will make his life even busier, he said.

“Life changes. Sometimes, you just have to let some things go to get other opportunities in life,” he said, adding, “I’m trying to move on to other things and it’s just been too much to handle.”

Business has been good, though hit and miss, but it was hard for the family to get over the hump, he said. Numerous people urged the family to move ModMex, but that was difficult since Octavio is an owner of their building. 

“It made it real difficult to move somewhere else,” Jose said. “We don’t want to have two payments on two different buildings.”

The family would love to have someone else step in to learn the recipes and business. “We’ll train them with what we know,” Jose said. They thought they had someone, but it fell through.

The six nights the restaurant will be open could be hectic, Rios said, but he’s trying to leave the business gracefully with the customers who have come to love ModMex. “I just want to end on a good note,” he said.

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