A Closed Taco Bell Location Received a Candlelight Vigil from Students in State College, Pennsylvania

The city currently only has two other Taco Bells Penn State students can go to.

Taco Bell understands its key demographic: young people. That’s why the brand has its own “back to school” collection, creates its own Halloween costumes, and partners with brands like Xbox. It also explains why when a location of the Mexican food chain closes in a major college town like State College, Pennsylvania—home to Penn State University—you see genuine disappointment from students. Last night, the results were a full-on candlelight vigil.

A Taco Bell location at night.
A Taco Bell location at night. Lynne Gilbert / Contributor/Getty Images

According to the independent, student-run Penn State news site Onward State, 50-plus people came out last night to the event which organizer Prajesh Patel admitted he originally posted on Facebook as a bit of a joke, but turned into an actual event after hundreds showed interest online. “For many of us, this establishment was our home away from home and added spice to our life. This was the place to be after a late night out,” Patel said while addressing the crowd in a clip posted to Twitter. “I am going to miss that crunchy taco and chicken chalupa, but what I’m going to miss even more is those late-night conversations I had with each and every one of you.”

Beyond the obvious candles, the vigil also reportedly included a moment of silence and renditions of Penn State’s Alma Mater and “Amazing Grace.” Onward State also writes, “Members of the Legion of Blue were on hand selling tickets to Penn State men’s basketball’s game against Michigan State on Wednesday and throwing t-shirts in the crowd. A university emergency medical services vehicle was also present, playing ‘In the Arms of an Angel’ on its speaker.” So, yes, though not an official PSU event, this was a community affair.

The location—at 310 E. College Ave.—apparently shut down abruptly last week. Just days after rumors of the closure began, by Wednesday, the signage had been removed leaving the former Taco Bell only a shell (pun intended) of its former self. Still, all is not lost for Taco Bell fans. State College apparently has two other locations—one on Rolling Ridge Drive, just 2 miles from the now-closed location, and another on Benner Pike, just 3.6 miles from where the vigil was held. Meanwhile, Onward State points out that a new Taco Bell was announced for the area back in 2018 that should be opening soon. However, whether any of these locations are convenient after a late night out has not been confirmed.

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