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STEVE PEZMAN, San Clemente

El Patio: Lucy’s Mexican Food was one of the iconic businesses of the Capo Beach area since the 1950s. No one even considered that the pandemic might take El Patio out.

When it closed, everyone thought, “OK, when the coronavirus finally runs its course, Lucy’s will return.” But it wouldn’t. It was gone, a shock to its regulars, accumulated over 70 years of business.

Alas, a new for-sale sign says it all. It wasn’t the food, which was good enough, but the steady neighborhood/family vibe, waitresses bringing what they knew you wanted before you ordered, the mix of regulars, many who had obviously been inhabiting the bar with nowhere else to be.

Its sudden absence, like a family member dying, was inevitable, but never before even considered.

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