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New locale sought for Shelburne Falls Mexican restaurant

Pacifico "Tony"Palumbo and Michael Collins outside the former North River Glass studio on Deerfield Street in Shelburne Falls, where they hope to open a new Mexican restaurant named Mi Vida Loca.
(Recorder/Paul Franz)

Pacifico "Tony"Palumbo and Michael Collins outside the former North River Glass studio on Deerfield Street in Shelburne Falls, where they hope to open a new Mexican restaurant named Mi Vida Loca. (Recorder/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

SHELBURNE FALLS — Former Green Emporium owners Michael Collins and Pacifico “Tony” Palumbo still want to open a Mexican restaurant and bakery in Shelburne Falls, but it won’t be in the former North River glass-blower’s studio on Deerfield Avenue, near the Glacial Potholes.

Negotiations for that space fell through on Friday.

“After much work and with the help from many professionals, Tony and I have determined that the cost to renovate the glass-blowing studio space on Deerfield Avenue will far exceed available funds,” reads a message from Collins on the “Mi Vida Loca Restaurant/Bakery” Facebook page.

“The initial fundraising has been successful, and the continued support of the Franklin County Community Development Corp. and Greenfield Savings Bank has been great,” the message continues. “We continue to be excited about the concept of a Mexican restaurant in the area, and we are actively searching for a space that will be less costly to renovate and more quickly usable for the restaurant. If you know of such a space, your input would be appreciated. We can’t wait to be serving some of the finest Mexican food in the region.”

With loan approval from the Franklin County CDC, Collins and Palumbo said they would have had $75,000 to start their restaurant. This included meeting their $15,000 goal from an online Kickstarter campaign, and an additional $15,000 from other fund-raising efforts. However, more would have been needed for additional changes to the facade, Palumbo said.

The money raised was to have paid for interior renovations, fully accessible bathrooms, plumbing, electrical upgrades and carpentry, a wood-fired brick oven, tables and outdoor seating areas.

The glassblower’s studio also has signs on its windows, saying that the proposal has fallen through, and that the building, owned by Constantin & Young Gallery owner Kathy Young, is available for rent. “We had all hoped this would happen and are very sorry not to have them as neighbors,” say the signs.

For about 20 years, Collins and Palumbo ran a restaurant called The Green Emporium inside a renovated church in Colrain Center, which received lots of critical acclaim from national media.

They want the new restaurant to specialize in Mexican, Cuban and South American cuisine. The name, “Mi Vida Loca,” is Spanish for “my crazy life.”

Palumbo and Collins are still hoping to start this restaurant in Shelburne Falls and are looking for another location in the village. They can be reached by email at info@greenemporium.com or by telephone at 624-3275.

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