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BLOOMINGTON — Carlos O'Kelly's in Bloomington has closed after 18 years in business.

The Mexican restaurant closed its Bloomington location effective Monday, according to a sign on the front door of the business at 2105 Veterans Parkway. About 30 full-time and part-time employees lost their jobs.

“It was a very very difficult decision, but as we're looking five years down the road of where we're going to grow, unfortunately we've seen deterioration of our business in Bloomington,” said Dave Phillips, Carlos O'Kelly's director of restaurant marketing.

The eatery, which opened in 1996, featured Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas and margaritas. The company also offered catering services.

Carlos O'Kelly's also has closed restaurants in Peoria and Decatur. The nearest locations still open are in Iowa City, Iowa, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Phillips said.

Drops in sales over the last several years led to the closing of 17 Carlos O'Kelly's, he said. There are still 22 of the restaurants open, primarily in Iowa and Kansas.

Managers, cooks and servers with at least one year with the company were offered severance packages, Phillips said.

Customers with gift cards can use them at any of the other Carlos O'Kelly's locations or can get a refund by contacting (316) 978-9509 or mygiftcard@carlosokellys.com, according to the company.

The company was founded in 1981 in Marion, Iowa.

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