The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 28, 2013

Wally Kennedy: El Vaquero fans never gave up on restaurant's return

JOPLIN, Mo. — Don’t ask me when El Vaquero will reopen, but it’s getting really close. When you see a guy sweeping the parking lot, that’s a sure sign an opening is imminent.

This will be such a big opening that it might be days, maybe weeks, before there will be enough room for me to get my foot in the door of 2412 S. Main St. That’s what I’m predicting.

I base this in large measure on the Facebook traffic that I have been reading. Shortly after the tornado, the Facebook page “Joplin misses and wants El Vaquero back” was created in which hundreds of people have expressed their feelings about this Mexican restaurant and why its return is so important to them.

What I find striking is that while we all lost something in the tornado, this group — against incredible odds and when no one was offering even a morsel of hope — would not take “no” for an answer when it came to the return of El Vaquero. It’s like they were thinking this: If enough of us stand together, we cannot be denied.

If the truth be known, that rarely works in the real world, if ever. But it apparently has had an impact in this case.

I remember one Facebook post in which the creator of the site was criticized early on for not doing enough to bring El Vaquero back. Here’s how that unfolded:

“I keep getting remarks that this page hasn’t done anything to bring them back etc. and that everyone should unlike the page and that I haven’t done a very good job at it. Well I’m sorry that I haven’t gone and beat them over the head with a brick to get them to rebuild.”

That was followed by this post:

“I think the cold is making people a little cranky, lol, so let’s think about looking forward to something nice and spicy to heat things up a bit.”

That is sooo Joplin.

We should be thankful that something we lost is returning. I want to take this opportunity to personally thank these diehard fans of El Vaquero for not giving up when it would have been so easy to do so.

If El Vaquero brings back its 99-cent margarita, we should all raise our glasses to toast the triumph of this rowdy horde. All they wanted was to have a little fun on South Main Street again, and what’s wrong with that?

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