Hundreds flock to Bandidos after closure announced

Last Bandidos Mexican Restaurant to close Jan. 31
Last Bandidos Mexican Restaurant to close Jan. 31(WPTA Staff)
Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 6:20 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The iconic Bandidos Mexican Restaurant will close this Tuesday and the news sent hundreds to its doors for one last meal.

The restaurant owner, Jimmie Schindler II, announced this weekend they are closing their last location on Winchester Road in Waynedale.

Bandidos Mexican Restaurant has been a popular family-owned Fort Wayne restaurant chain for 40 years.

Schindler took to Bandidos’ Facebook page Saturday to post a three-minute video explaining the reason behind the closure. He says that due to his ongoing health struggle he feels he can no longer run the restaurant “like he needs to” due to the side effects.

The news sent hundreds of Bandidos lovers to the restaurant Saturday night and Sunday morning where they faced long lines and wait times.

David Heiney, a Fort Wayne native and current Purdue student, drove 2 hours home to have one last bowl of chip and salsa with his parents.

“I’m just going to miss the tradition of coming and getting the nachos getting the salsa, favorite or the jalapeño poppers,” David Heiney said. “I never found a restaurant that had them as good or anywhere close to as Bandidos does it it’s just really sad to see it go.”

At one point the wait time exceeded 3 hours long. But for many, like Pam and Richard Karkosky, they say the time was worth the wait.

“I get the exact same thing every Sunday,” Pam Karkosky said. “He switches up a little bit and it’s just been our spot. It’s our comfort zone. We are going to have to find a new spot.”

Others decided they would try to get a table on Monday or choice not to wait.

“I didn’t expect this,” Angie Marquardt said.” “But it warms my heart so much that this meant so much to this many people as well as my family because this was my childhood was being here.”

Bandidos Mexican Restaurant opened its first location on Winchester Road back in 1980. The founder Jimmie Schindler I continued to grow the business, comprising four locations: three in Indiana and one in Ohio. He died in March 2020.

The Bandidos building on Winchester Road has been sold to Arcos Restaurante Mexicano.

Schindler said he would be focusing on its Guadalupe’s Mexican Grill restaurants, which he says is a “fast causal concept.” That brand had three locations: Illinois Road, Dupont Road and Leo Road.

The final day for Bandidos is Tuesday, Jan. 31.