Written by John Face
February 10, 2022
Photos by John Face
Getting a call in the early morning to tell you there is a problem is never a good thing. On December 6, 2021, Dan Lopez got the call no business owner wants, “your business is on fire”. The fire was isolated in the front of the restaurant and would be the start of a long road before reopening. The fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters but not before serious damage to the front end and heavy smoke damage to the entire business had occurred.
I met up with Dan Lopez the afternoon of the fire (pictured below) and he was devastated. Everything was running through his mind that day from can I reopen, fix the building to how do I take care of my employees.
A Go Fund Me account was started https://gofund.me/ea5ffdc9 (this is the link) that has raised over $22,000 for him and the business. Since that day things have slowly moved toward reopening. It was going to take a herculean effort by him, employees and others to clean up and rebuild, and that is what has happened.
Within days Albion College stepped forward to offer help in the rebuild, the community did as well by donating. Constant calls to Dan from those concerned helped him deal with everything. It would take a few days before he realized that despite what he wanted, he was not going to be able to open anytime soon.
As you can see in the pictures and others in the original story ( https://micitywatchnews.com/2021/12/06/lopez-taco-house-devastated-by-fire-information-on-how-you-can-help/ ) linked here, there was a long way to go. They have reopened for take-out only in the last couple weeks but the OK to open for eat in had not come yet.
Dan called me yesterday and asked me to stop by and of course I said yes. I just left to return and write this story and WOW is what I can say as to what I saw. A picture tells it all. Dan smiling as he showed me around was just awesome.
Everything is bright, cleaned up and no way you could know he had a fire. Pictured below in front of the new front window Dan tells me that he can’t thank people enough. I want to figure out a way to thank people. I have an idea of something to go on the wall acknowledging donors is in the works. But his one mantra was, thanking everyone.
I kept telling him how great it all looked when he finally got to why he called me. “We are opening to dine in eating John, tomorrow morning at 11”. Yeah, he was smiling big time. They will be open Friday and Saturday February 11th &12th from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Then open special hours on Monday for Valentine’s Day from 2 P.M. until 8 P.M. then back to regular hours.
Dan hopes people will stop in even if all they want to do is look at the rebuild.
Dan Is ready and plans on being busy the next few weeks, which is fine by him. As I took one last look around you felt that something special happened here. A community stepped forward and did what was right, and maybe, just maybe there were some special angels looking out for him as well.
Only ate there once years ago. Trying to come back this summer to fish my old stomping grounds. Even if I don’t catch a meal…I will stop by and sit at the counter. Those seats are low enough to rest my elbows as I chow down.
Dan, I can’t put it in words how much I missed seeing you and your staff. I have had many taco withdrawals. I plan on returning on Tuesdays like I have for years. Beautiful place!