WRIGLEYVILLE — Whether it's to drink a 14th beer or to save a fast food joint, Wrigleyville knows how to rally.
Now, its residents are turning out with likely futile hopes of saving the Taco Bell at 1111 W. Addison St. Plans to redevelop the site after Taco Bell's lease is up in July 2018 mean the Tex-Mex chain will have to find new digs, or else vanish entirely from Lakeview.
When 23-year-old C.J. Black heard the news Wednesday morning, he knew something had to be done.
"I'm typically not an activist, but this really made me feel as though I needed to take action," Black said.
He created a Facebook event, "Save The Wrigleyville Taco Bell," and sent it to a dozen of his friends.
"Come out and stand up for a wonderful establishment that has always been there for you when you've needed it the most," the event description reads. "Bring signs and banners. Invite as many people as possible."
As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, 446 people have said they plan to attend the Aug. 26 afternoon rally, with another 1,000 interested and almost as many with pending invitations.
Someone even made shirts within the first hour of Black creating the event, sending him the designs for approval.
"It really caught fire very quickly," Black said.
The question is: Will it do any good?
"I don't think that it will change the developers' plans for the site," Black acknowledged. "But I think at minimum what will happen is people will be able to come together and express their feelings and share the experiences they've had."
One crafty entrepreneur has designed T-shirts for the Aug. 26 protest. [Etsy/GraphicTeaseShop]
For Black, Taco Bell was a go-to spot when he lived a little closer to Wrigley Field at Belmont and Racine, although he still lives in Lakeview after moving from the northwest suburbs two years ago.
"People go there to meet friends and when other places may be closed, Taco Bell was often one of the only places you can get a bite to eat," Black said.
Unlike sprawling cities where Taco Bell is just off the highway or on a forgettable strip, "mention the Wrigley Taco Bell, and people know instantly what you're talking about," Black said. "Everyone has a story about something funny that happened there. It's a place people have come to know and appreciate."
And if nothing else, the gangbusters response to his Facebook event just proves that.