Accordion player John Valeriano, 86, and Tommy Naughton, 88, who plays the gutbucket, or washtub base. (Hand In, Daily Pilot / July 15, 2014)

When Landmark Restaurant served its last customers in May, Corona del Mar residents lost a restaurant, at least until El Cholo opens in the fall.

But a group of seniors found themselves without a gathering place for their regular musical dinner parties — for the third time in less than three years.

A group of friends from the OASIS Senior Center had been meeting twice a month at the Landmark Steakhouse for dinner and music by accordion player John Valeriano, 86, and Tommy Naughton, 88, who plays the gutbucket, or washtub base.

Before that, the group gathered at Coco's, which closed last year, and before that, they would meet at Pizza Royale, which closed in December 2011.

Valeriano has joked that every place they frequent ends up closing.

"People want to find out which restaurant we're closing next," Naughton said.

"Maybe it's that we bring so many people, and prospective buyers see it and say, 'Can we buy this business?'" Valeriano said.

For now, the men play twice a month at OASIS lunches. And a friend said his son will be a manager at El Cholo, so they hope they'll be able to begin their dinner parties once again.


City Councilwoman victim of mail theft

Newport Beach City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner warned members of the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. about mail theft at the group's July meeting.

The warning was prompted by an incident that began June 3, when she said she mailed some bills from a box in front of the Corona del Mar post office on Orchid Avenue. A few days later, she said, her bank called to ask about a $1,400 check written to a person Gardner had never heard of.

"They had gotten in the postal box and altered my checks," she said. "I knew people do that, but I hadn't heard of it happening at the boxes in front of the post office."

A United States Postal Service spokesman said thieves typically are looking for checks that they can launder and cash.

"While it is not a common occurrence, theft of mail from a blue collection can occasionally occur and it can occur anywhere," said Richard Maher in an email. "The Postal Service recommends that customers check the pick-up time posted on the collection box and deposit mail before that day's pick-up. Since almost all thefts from these boxes occur under cover of darkness, it is safer to not leave mail to sit overnight or over the weekend."

Gardner said postal workers also advised her not to deposit mail after hours.


CdM Chamber Mixer scheduled for July 29

The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce, 2647 East Coast Highway, will host a Sunset Mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday July 29 at Sherman Library & Gardens in the library building, according to an emailed invitation.

The event is free for members and $20 for guests and will include live music, networking opportunities, appetizers and refreshments and a docent-led tour of the gardens.