Wednesday, July 6, 2022

In Remembrance: The Taco Bell on Grand River

February 24, 2022
A "temporarily closed" sign hangs in the window of the Taco Bell on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing, Michigan on Feb. 24, 2022.
A "temporarily closed" sign hangs in the window of the Taco Bell on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing, Michigan on Feb. 24, 2022. —
Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

After years of supplying crunchwrap supremes and Baja Blast to hungry students, the Taco Bell located on Grand River Avenue has closed its doors for good.

Michigan State students gave their thoughts on what made this Taco Bell special, and shared memories from their visits to the iconic location.

Social relations and policy junior Mary Carthew said the convenient location of the Taco Bell was part of what made it special for students both on and off campus.

“The location of the Taco Bell was a perfect location because it’s close to the dorms, it’s close to a lot of apartment buildings and you could see it from Grand River,” Carthew said. “Everyone knows where it is."

The accessible location made the Taco Bell a frequent late-night stop for students enjoying college life at MSU.

“Definitely a stop after the bars or house parties on the way home,” psychology junior Gabrielle Grace said. “Just super conveniently located, you definitely always would go there and see someone you know, too. I don’t really have that experience at most other Taco Bells."

The combination made for special memories at the Taco Bell once located at 601 E Grand River Avenue.

“I think it was after Halloween 2019,” Grace said. “I was really into Taco Bell because they have vegetarian options too, but we went after, you know, a couple Halloween parties, and it was just super fun. Everyone was in their costumes. The line was pretty long, but we didn’t really care.”

Chemical engineering junior Josh Krueger said he enjoyed living close to the Taco Bell his freshman year for the easy access to their Doritos Locos Tacos.

“I would usually just get up and just walk there," Krueger said. "You know, like on a Friday night or something, and then that Taco Bell being in the location it is, just like the atmosphere of it on like a Friday or Saturday night on Grand River was a lot of fun.”

As to why the Taco Bell closed, students feel the pandemic and a lack of employees could have been a determining factor.

“I walked by one day and the Taco Bell sign is gone and there’s a 'for lease' sign on it,” Krueger said. “It makes me think maybe they couldn’t find people to work there, but I figured in a location like that they would just try their best.”

Grace said she saw a 'now hiring' sign at the restaurant this summer and began anticipating its return.

"I kind of figured, ‘Oh, it’ll reopen eventually,'" Grace said. "My guess is they probably couldn’t find people to staff back to the capacity they had before.”

Carthew compared the green McDonald's on Grand River Avenue, to the Taco Bell it's just a few yards down the street from.

“I was really surprised that they closed,” Carthew said. “I wonder if they had had a drive thru would it be open — like the McDonald’s is still open — maybe it’d be more accessible.”

With the Grand River Taco Bell closing its doors for good, students share their final thoughts on the iconic location.

“It’s kind of interesting because I wouldn’t normally feel that way about a franchise restaurant, but I feel like it’s such an iconic building and it was like a social spot,” Carthew said. “I’m sad that it’s closed.”

And, of course, students thanked the Taco Bell for getting them through their college experience.

“It had a good run, you know, it served an important purpose,” Grace said.

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“I would thank it for its service, and I hope whatever replaces it can live up to it,” Krueger said.

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