Rancherito’s Mexican Food, a local 24-hour Mexican restaurant, received a show of support on Oct. 5 when hundreds of supporters dressed in black gathered outside the building, which is currently closed for renovation.
BYU student Henry Fye, who runs an Instagram fan account named @provorancheritos, initially believed the restaurant to be closed permanently and organized a memorial in honor of the late-night dining spot.
The original post on @provorancheritos advertised the event as “a night of remembrance for Provo Rancherito’s” and received more than 4,000 likes and 350 shares. According to an instagram post, Fye learned the restaurant was not gone for good and the memorial was rebranded and held as a celebration, honoring the memories made in the original Rancherito’s building.
“I thought that like 20 people would come but then it like, blew up,” Fye said. “Rancherito’s is one of those things that feels niche, but honestly it isn’t, 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 distributed, and participants gave speeches and sang songs.
“It’s definitely a community that loves Rancherito’s,” BYU student Hallie Zimmerman said. “Look at everyone here, we all share that love for this amazing restaurant. I just hope that it opens up soon.”
The official program for the night included Rancherito’s-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 closing of Rancherito’s, it was really hard for me,” Zimmerman said. “It’s really hard for me to see it close, even though it will come back.”
Participants also released floating lanterns and launched fireworks. According to local high school student Cairo McGee, one participant brought food from another local restaurant.
“Some actual idiot brought Chipotle to the Rancherito’s function,” McGee said. “Obviously the Rancherito’s community is strong enough to notice that and establish some boundaries between what is respectful and disrespectful at this memorial service.”
Attendees were invited by @provorancheritos to dress in black to mourn the closure of the restaurant. One mourner, Jamison Huber, was wearing a black veil.
“Well, I just didn’t think that anything else could capture the feelings of sorrow and mourning that I’m experiencing, and that a lot of members of BYU and Provo community is also experiencing,” Huber said.
Fye said prior to the event that he had not decided whether it was an ironic or serious occasion and that he would decide based on how the night’s events transpired.
Of the attendees, Fye said “I think they think they’re here as a joke, but really they are heartbroken.”