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VIVO Kitchen closes early after 'angry mob' calls for gift card refunds

The restaurant was set to close Sunday after facing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
VIVO Kitchen

VIVO Kitchen in Apple Valley was set to close for good on Sunday, but after angry customers flocked to the establishment, it was forced to shut its doors on Wednesday.

In a statement announcing the closure, VIVO executive director Jeff Mould said challenges brought on by COVID-19 were too much for the restaurant. Vivo Kitchen seats 400, meaning it can’t survive at limited capacity, Mound said.

“This has been an emotional and difficult decision to arrive at. The future of hospitality is so uncertain. We have given our absolute best to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing pandemic world we live in,” the statement read. “We have recalibrated our menu with a small and committed team and done all we can to keep our business moving forward with the hopes of re-opening."

Gov. Tim Walz’s Stay at Home order closed restaurants and bars except for delivery and takeout services. Starting on June 1, restaurants can reopen for outdoor seating at limited capacity.

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After the announcement, around 30 customers showed up to VIVO to demand refunds for gift cards. A video posted by VIVO's Director of Community Development, David James Peterson, shows police were called to the scene.

"An angry mob of about 30 people just descended on VIVO, pounding on windows, trying to get inside, and buzzing the service entrance - all over gift cards. I got there after many had dispersed to find this.

"VIVO is now done - for good."

VIVO has posted guidelines on its website for customers seeking refunds for gift cards. Requests should be sent in by June 15. 

The Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce said VIVO has been an "integral part" of the chamber and its closure is a "terrible loss" for the community.

Here's a list of the restaurants that have closed since the pandemic arrived.

Mission American Kitchen

Cheese Louise

Sleepy V’s

Egg & I

El Burrito Mercado Mpls

Izzy’s St. Paul

4 Bells

Bachelor Farmer

NE Arcade

Muddy Waters

Bar Luchador

Cleveland Wok

Old Chicago Apple Valley

Betty Danger’s

Pazzaluna

Minnesota Bonfire x 5

Moose & Sadie’s

Burger Jones

Vivo Kitchen

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