Crowd mourns temporary closure of local Mexican restaurant

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Rancherito’s Mexican Food, a 24-hour Mexican restaurant, received a show of support Oct. 5 when hundreds of supporters dressed in black gathered outside the building, which is currently closed for renovations.

BYU student Henry Fye, who runs an Instagram fan account named @provorancheritos, initially believed the restaurant was permanently closed and held a memorial in honor of the late-night eatery.

The original post on @provorancheritos advertised the event as “a night of remembrance for Provo Rancherito” and received over 4,000 likes and 350 shares. According to an Instagram post, Fye learned that the restaurant was not gone for good and the memorial was renamed and held as a celebration, honoring the memories made in Rancherito’s original building.

“I thought 20 people would come, but it blew up,” Fye said. “Rancherito’s is one of those things that seems niche, but honestly it’s not, everyone has an experience here and either loves it or hates it.”

The crowd chanted “USA” and “Rancherito’s” as flowers, quesadillas and programs were handed out, and attendees gave speeches and sang songs.

“It’s definitely a community that loves Rancherito’s,” said BYU student Hallie Zimmerman. “Look everyone here, we all share this love for this amazing restaurant. I just hope it opens soon.

The evening’s official program included Rancherito-themed renditions of “Hallelujah”, “Bring Him Home”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Amazing Grace”, and “If I Die Young”, as well as several poems and speeches.

“The temporary closure of Rancherito’s, it was really difficult for me,” Zimmerman said. “It’s really difficult for me to see him up close, even if he will come back.”

Participants also launched floating lanterns and launched fireworks. According to Cairo McGee, a local high school student, one attendee brought food from another local restaurant.

“A real idiot brought Chipotle to the Rancherito function,” McGee said. “Obviously the Rancherito community is strong enough to take notice and draw lines between what is respectful and disrespectful at this memorial service.”

Attendees were asked by @provorancheritos to dress in black to mourn the restaurant’s closure. A mourner, Jamison Huber, wore a black veil.

“Well, I just didn’t think anything else could capture the feelings of grief and mourning that I feel, and that a lot of BYU and Provo community members feel as well,” Huber said.

Fye said before the event that he hadn’t decided whether it was a tongue-in-cheek or serious occasion and would decide based on how the night’s events unfolded.

Of the attendees, Fye said, “I think they think they’re here for a joke, but they’re really heartbroken.”

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