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Former Viva Loco Location Remains Vacant

Mexican restaurant has been closed for eight months after more than 20 years of business.

Viva Loco, a Mexican restaurant located at 2381 Merrick Road for 20 years, was once a popular and festive dining spot in the Bellmores, providing good food and good times to those who crossed its doorstep.

Now, its doors are shut, its façade is covered with rental signs and its interior is littered with abandoned, dust-strewn plates and cups. The reason for its closure currently remains a mystery.

With Viva Loco going out of business, Aboff's Paints, located next door at 2395 Merrick Road, is now awkwardly situated between two closed eateries -- Viva Loco on one side, and the former East Bay Diner on the other, which closed last year.

Aboff's manager, Jeff Bernstein, said that the departure of Viva Loco came as a surprise.

"They just closed suddenly about eight months ago," he said. "There was no warning or anything."

When asked what kind of business he would like to see occupy the currently vacant space, Bernstein's answer reflected the issues facing many business owners in these tough economic times, especially on this beleaguered section of Merrick Road in Bellmore.

“It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as they can keep their doors open,” he said. “I mean, everything’s constantly closing around here ... I’m surrounded by emptiness on either side of my store, so it doesn’t really matter what kind of retail store opens, just one that can actually stay open.”

One clue to Viva Loco’s possible fate lies in a stop work order affixed to the front door by the Town of Hempstead, listing a building code violation regarding interior work/alteration without the authorization of the Hempstead Town Department of Buildings, and demanding that all work cease immediately. The date listed on the order is March 27, 2012.

It is unknown if the stop work order had anything to do with the actual closure of Viva Loco, however.

Calls to the building’s landlord were not returned.

ted July 08, 2012 at 05:25 PM
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ted July 08, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I have owned 2 pizzeria's in Bellmore between 84 and 02, i have owned on the north shore and in brooklyn i am currently retired, Bellmore is not an easy place to do business in, the people are low rent, even in the supposed wealthy south "new money" when ever an applebees is the busiest restaurant in town you have to ask yourself how much trashier can the area get! The average Bellmore resident has no clue about food other than how to order the cheapest item on the menu, split the dish between 6 people and then make a phony complaint to get something for free. Every single restaurant owner I speak with in the area all have EXACTLY the same stories. My advice to any future merchant for that area is stick to the north shore, they have real money and are a hell of a lot classier!! They also some what of a grasp of the culinary arts rather than bargain hunting as if they were at some cut rate flea market.
larry July 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM
well..if you look at Atonettes..Matteos,Per un Angelo,Villa D' aqua..Santorini,Bella Notte,Xaga,and near by ..Smokin Als BBQ,Asian Moon,Don Juans..,you will see very successful restaurants..and most are prospering..as a matter of fact, some are very hi end.True the north shore may be have a bit higher income levels but the south shore resident is also a great customer..many businesses do very well on the south shore.
larry July 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM
update,,there is a great deal of interest on the site,,,something good is bound to be there!We are working hard to bring something great to our community!
Lourdes Olivo Adams September 24, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Wow! I am so sad and sorry to hear some of the comments made, but I respect them all. I also want to apologize to the neighbors who thought Viva Loco was a burden more than an asset to the area. Larry, congratulations on your new business, and I pray you do well. I actually can fill you in on the original reason I suggested to Gino that we open Viva Loco there when that area was a ghost town. I remember my favorite neighbor across the street, the owner of Anderson Spring, miss him dearly. I must say that I agree with the Concerned Neighbor's Post about the taxes, the previous tenant was also in the arrears with the taxes that its the reason Gino had to evict them. Granted 20 years ago the economy was not so bad, but taxes were always so high. And we were trying to give to our customers really good food at an affordable price. It was part of the concept along with " Not fast food, but good food Fast". I saw the area booming before anyone else did, including Gino. There was nothing, I mean absolutely nothing around. My favorite times was Halloween, Gino and I and his children would make tombs stone out of Styrofoam and but all the Xmanagers name on it example ( RIP Bill DOE). We went through so many in the first year. Oh and that article by Joan or Joann Starks was awesome for our grand opening. Larry, I really believe that the town will make a come back. If you would like to shoot the breeze on some more history of Viva Loco, I can help you with that. I was the original creator of Viva Loco, along with Gino. And I challenge anyone to say otherwise. Not many know the History, very few close and dear to Gino. And I love talking about the old times at Viva Loco, so often with my family, who also helped and worked with us at Viva Loco. My brother helped built the first and second location. Email me at adamszn@aol.com. Love to share all the endless funny stories, God bless you all. Lourdes Adams

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