Historic Hangout Closed Down, At Least Temporarily

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MCLENNAN COUNTY (December 17, 2013) The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has shut down the historic Tokio store, at least temporarily, and owner Al Cinek has plenty to do and not much time in which to do it if he wants to reopen.

The store is a popular weekend hangout.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of stuff I’ve probably been neglecting and all, and I really need to get out here and maybe get some help and ...get this place cleaned up,” he said Tuesday.

The health district suspended the store’s food permit, barred it from serving beverages or operating its kitchen, and gave Cinek 20 days to correct a list of problems including a leaky dumpster.

Cinek must get a new dumpster and pour a concrete slab with curbs to contain any leakage and also to run water to the dumpster site so any leakage could be cleaned up.

Cinek said the improvements would cost about $1,000, but on top of that he’s also been told he needs to install a water meter, which he says would cost nearly $4,000.

Customers and residents have rallied to support the store and more than $5,000 has been raised to help cover the cost, most of it during a benefit Sunday.

On Tuesday, Jim Prause of Aquilla stopped by and gave Cinek $1,000 more.

“This thing’s been here over a hundred years and I hate to see it shut down,” he said.

Cinek also needs to clean up hundreds of cigarette butts and beer bottle caps scattered on the ground and wood and debris that’s piled up next to the store.

”We’re going to put everything else together and see if we can make this place go,” he said.

“I've put a lot of blood sweat and tears in this place, so this is my livelihood and it means everything to me,” he said.

“I don't want to see it die. There's no reason we have to let it die."

The store five miles southwest of West, which dates back to the late 1800s, is a popular weekend hangout for bikers and visitors who come to "drink beer, and have good clean fun" Cinek said.