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Shelburne Falls restaurant fundraiser underway

SHELBURNE FALLS — An online, Kickstarter fundraiser is underway to help former Green Emporium restaurateurs Michael Collins and Pacifico “Tony” Palumbo convert a former glass-blowing studio near the Glacial Potholes into an eatery they are calling Mi Vida Loca Restaurant and Bakery.

“Mi Vida Loca” is Spanish for “My Crazy Life,” and this new restaurant is to specialize in Mexicn, Cuban and South American cuisine. Mexican breads and scones will be baked in a wood-fired brick stove.

But before they can open the restaurant, Collins and Palumbo are trying to raise money for renovations. These will include installing two handicap-access bathrooms, a brick oven, an outdoor seating area and tables and furnishings.

The Kickstarter goal is for Collins and Palumbo to raise at least $15,000 by June 30. The pledges will only be funded if that goal is met by its deadline. During the first week, the fundraiser has received about $2,000 in pledges.

The estimated cost for the renovation is about $60,000, and the two men have already raised about $16,000 from contributions of friends, before the Kickstarter campaign.

Palumbo and Collins hope to renovate with the the money raised, along with a loan from the Franklin County Community Develop-ment Corp.

In their 20 years of running the Green Emporium in Colrain, Chef Michael Collins and Palumbo received restaurant critics’ praises and features in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Yankee Magazine, Saveur Magazine, Bon Appetit and others. The restaurant closed in 2012, when the property was given to a Florida-based family member following an inheritance dispute in Probate Court.

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