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False alarm: Los Ocampo's not going anywhere!

Los Ocampo is not going anywhere! Though the scenery around it might change... especially the area directly above it.

Los Ocampo is not going anywhere! Though the scenery around it might change... especially the area directly above it. Google Earth

Monday, City Pages asked: "Is there any kind of bad news worse than bad taco news?"

This morning, we're back to wonder: Is there any better kind of fake news than fake bad taco news?

The occasion of Monday's question was the purported closure of the Los Ocampo Mexican restaurant on East Lake Street in south Minneapolis. This morning's follow-up query comes thanks to the response of Julian Ocampo, owner of that and other restaurants (and lunch counters) of the same name. 

In short: Los Ocampo isn't closed, isn't closing, and plans to operate on the first floor of the 48-unit apartment building planned for its current location. 

The mix-up came due to Los Ocampo's listing an inactive phone number for its Lake Street location, which both  the Business Journal (and then City Pages) interpeted as a sign of imminent death. City Pages' attempts to reach Los Ocampo proved unsuccessful, though a city planner involved in the project had informed us of the possibility the restaurant would reopen on the first floor of the apartment building, which will have units on the second-through-fifth floors, according to planning documents.

Julian Ocampo followed suit with a phone call Monday evening, attempting to clear up reports that have "everybody confused." The Lake Street Los Ocampo will live on, stronger than ever, at that very same East Lake Street address.

"They're going to remodel the space," Ocampo says, "but they want us to stay."

Ocampo doesn't know specifics behind the timing yet -- North Bay Cos., the developing firm, is asking the city for approval to build a five-story building on a lot zoned for a maximum of four -- but says he's working with the project team to craft the kitchen how he wants it.

"It's going to be an upgrade," Ocampo says. "It looks like positive changes."

He adds, about his popular (with good reason) counter-service Mexican joint: "It's open. We've been open for 10 years." 

And City Pages hopes its taco-and-torta reign on that corner continues another 100 years, though today, we'll stick to a strict diet of eating crow.