Is there any kind of bad news worse than bad taco news?
Probably there is, though it won't feel like it today for people who live around East Lake Street in Minneapolis, home to some of the best Mexican food in the state of Minnesota. There's a little less of it, as of last week, with the abrupt closing of Los Ocampo to make room for a five-story, 48-unit apartment building on the corner of Lake and Chicago Avenue.
As the Business Journal notes, the Lake Street Los Ocampo has closed already and its location has been removed from the popular local chain's website.
Last week, a city planner for Minneapolis suggested to City Pages that Los Ocampo might only be closing temporarily, and then moving back in once the apartment project is completed.
Plans submitted to the city last week describe the building as "mixed-use," with the entire first floor reserved for commercial or other space, while apartment dwellers would live on floors two through five. (First, the city would need to grant developers permission; at present, the property is only zoned to go to four stories.)
Los Ocampo did not respond to requests for comment from City Pages.
Regardless, it won't be the case that fans of the taqueria will have to journey far for their fix: Aside from two Los Ocampo locations in St. Paul and a pair of lunch counters in the Minneapolis skyway, Los Ocampo is also a vendor in the Midtown Global Market on Lake Street.
Does south Minneapolis really, really need two Los Ocampo taquerias operating within a few blocks of each other?
As for these apartements which may or may not be swallowing your Chicago Avenue taco future, they'll be on the small-and-affordable side: "studio units with the goal of providing lower cost market rate apartments to the area," developer North Bay Cos. explains in its planning documents. The Business Journal reports units will run between 383 square feet and 431 square feet.
The Journal says the land underneath this Los Ocampo/micro-apartment swap is owned by "an entity tied to John Wolf," owner of the neigboring Chicago-Lake Liquors. The liquor store would not be affected by this development, nor by anything short of the return of Prohibition and/or a biblical flood.
UPDATE: No they're not! Owner Julian Ocampo reached out to City Pages Monday evening to say the reports of its closure (including ours) were a mix-up, the result of an old phone number's listing on its website. They're not closed, and not going anywhere! Yay for that!