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Independent Athens Gem Viva Argentine Has Closed

Opened in 2011, originally on the Eastside in what had been the Taco Stand space in a small strip mall, then moving to a bigger space in the Bottleworks on Prince Avenue a couple of years later, Viva Argentine has long outlasted the usual running time for an independent restaurant. Unfortunately, the pressures of the past few years have mounted, and owners Gaby and Jesse Lindsey announced that the restaurant is closed as of a few days ago.

Gaby said that with costs continuing to skyrocket, general instability and difficulty finding employees, it was hard to keep going. In addition, the Lindseys want to spend time with their daughter, and working an 80-hour week is a harder thing to do than it used to be. Why not find another location? Have you seen rents lately in Athens? It’s difficult for independent businesses, which usually don’t have the deep pockets and the accompanying patience of chains, to find anywhere that they can afford. Gaby says they needed to “defuse” rather than jump into starting over somewhere new.

That said, Viva has its lease through November, and Gaby says to pay attention to its socials as the restaurant could be doing some pop-up events in the space. Viva isn’t currently taking orders for its cupcakes but is still fulfilling existing orders, and the demand for those baked goods is such that I could see them becoming a thing by themselves.

Gaby said that she feels “lucky to have been a part of people’s lives and stories” and that “having support from the community feels great,” even extending to the appreciation she’s received upon announcing the closing.

There’s no word yet on what might be moving into the space, but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more.