Written by John Face
Photos by John Face
December 8, 2021
City Watch NEWS
“This was our sons’ favorite place to eat when he was home. Always got 10 soft shell tacos. They also (Lopez Taco House) catered the lunch after his funeral on what was a day off for them. Very nice family and great food”. Yeah, Lopez Taco house means a lot for different reasons for different people. Tom and Susan Lowe shared their generosity by donating $250 as they left this comment to a place that means, obviously, a lot to them. As I read comment after comment one thing shown through, this little Mom and Pop restaurant is an institution in Albion. That has been the sentiment the last couple days as the Go Fund Me account has now swelled to over $14,000.
I arrived early for my interview with Danny Lopez. It was on purpose so I had time to take a close look at everything that was going on. I found family friend Barry Rudd being helped by Jessica Cracraft (an employee of Lopez) ripping out carpet that is less than a year old. (Pictured below)
The heavy smell of smoke hit me as I walked in the door, to be expected considering. I took my pictures and sat at the counter thinking about all the people who love Lopez Taco House. They love the atmosphere. They love the people there. They love the food.
Danny Lopez arrived with a smile on his face. I asked how he was doing, and the smile slid away. “I am doing OK”, he said. “It’s still hard. I cry on and off, but I am holding up” he said. We chatted about his plans about the future. He was telling he wanted to open in the next few days so he could pay his people who have been coming in and working. The reality is he can’t open soon but he will open again.
It was then I brought up the Go Fund Me campaign started on his behalf. He stated, “It’s doing well enough that I can pay my people, so they don’t hurt, and I don’t want them to worry”. He has been pleasantly surprised for help and money given. He told me that Albion College has offered free labor to help repair the damage. People have stopped him and offered support and that has been great.
This writer saw one thing in his eyes, and that was a man who is humbled by his hometown. I read the comment from the Lowes about their son. He smiled and remembered catering the funeral, “they are good people” he said.
He said that they have a long way to go. His main goal now is to get to where they can open at minimum for carry out. The kitchen received no direct damage, except for smoke which is extensive. There are obstacles, but he is ready to tackle them. I told him members of the community want to help directly, maybe helping clean the restaurant or whatever they can do. He said for now the work is heavy work and the fewer people the better. “We might take people up on that further down the road”, he said.
It’s not been easy for him and his family and staff, but as he said, “we will get through”. I asked about money again, a topic that was difficult for him to talk about. He again said how grateful he was. When pressed he said it’s going to take a lot more. That is why he is desperate to reopen. I asked if any local benefits are planned, maybe like a Taco night Benefit, he said “not now”.
If you want to help the family, you can donate here. Donations from $5.00 to $500 have been made, and this writer can tell you the Lopez family and staff appreciates them all equally. https://gofund.me/ea5ffdc9