By Jill Cowan
8:21 PM PST, February 26, 2013
After decades of serving area families, Coco's Bakery Restaurant on East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar is set to close March 10, a restaurant manager confirmed Tuesday.
The closure, which had been on employees' radar for "more than a year," was announced to staff Thursday, said manager Gerry Bermudes.
"They told us we have until [March] 15, so we have five days to move out our stuff," Bermudes said. "We've been getting a lot of people upset [about the closure]."
Bermudes said he hadn't been told why the restaurant is closing, and a corporate spokesperson could not be reached as of Tuesday afternoon.
About 30 employees work at the community fixture, which was among the first restaurants opened mid-century by local couple John and Audrey McIntosh.
Newport Beach City Councilwoman and longtime Corona del Mar resident Nancy Gardner said she remembered the restaurant "in at least the late '50s," because she worked there.
"I was a hostess one summer," she said, adding, "Not a very good one."
Gardner, who joked that her short-lived employment was due in part to her parents' friendship with the McIntoshes, said she's already gotten complaints from residents sad to see the diner go.
A Coco's in Fashion Island, which had been there for more than 30 years, closed in May.
"Nowadays there aren't that many casual, affordable places where you can get whatever you want," Gardner said. "There are times where you didn't want to make a big deal about it. It was just like, 'I don't want to cook dinner tonight, so we'll go to Coco's.'"