by Jim Boyle
El Amigo’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant at 14379 Business Center Drive in Elk River has closed.
Isaias Herrera, the manager of the business, blamed slipping sales that were getting hammered by the road construction on Highway 10.
“Ever since the construction started, sales have been going down,” said Herrera, who would like to find another job managing a Mexican restaurant. “I have all the skills.”
“It was a beautiful run,” he said. “I’m sad. I don’t see another choice (for the business).”
A sign next to the restaurant’s door thanks customers for their support over the last five years.
“We will miss you,” it concludes.
Comments on at least one social media site expressed sadness that the business was closing and featured good reviews on the food.
J.P. Gillach, a communications and public affairs director for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, expressed surprise over El Amigo’s closure.
Since lanes began to change, he said, his office has received almost no complaints nor comments about the project, traffic or anything related to the work.
“At least one business has commented that business was better than expected,” Gillach stated in an email to the Star News.
Prior to the project, Gillach did a walk around to the retail shops just off of the project to go over project basics and talk about communications during the project.
Joplin Street at Highway 10 was partially closed last week from Monday through Friday 1 p.m. The road is also expected to close again for about four weeks beginning late this week or early next week, Gillach said.
Joplin may close again for a few hours, or maybe a day, later in the project, when crews activate the signal system or do other short-term work.
When Joplin closes, Gillach said the detour to businesses and other roads on both sides of Highway 10 is short and easy – just exit Highway 10 a mile farther west at Waco Street, then follow the frontage road to your local business or other destination.
“The most important thing to note is that customers will always be able to reach their favorite local businesses at all times,” Gillach said. “There’s only one detour route to reach all businesses and other destinations south of Highway 10. That detour is short and simple and will add less than five minutes travel time to any trip to any local destination, Gillach said.
Gillach also said that eastbound Highway 10 motorists will have to exit a mile early at Waco Street, or they’ll have to navigate through the work zone before they can exit Highway 10. Westbound motorists will simply exit a mile later,” he said.
Eastbound Highway 10 will be a single lane through fall 2017 and April through October 2018. All Highway 10 lanes will be open during the winter.