At 6:50 p.m. Friday, hours after Yayo Taco announced it would close its doors, fans attending a hastily organized benefit show officially raised the $716 needed to pay Southern Nevada Health District fines.
The financial milestone was reached earlier than anticipated by owner/chef Cho Yiu. “Wow, the show has barely even started,” he said in response to the strong show of support from the all-ages community.
“Yayo Taco is like a second home to me,” explained said Sergio Medina, who organized the benefit. “I’ve always been playing music here. It’s where I express myself.”
No food or drink was served on the premises, but the night did feature a full lineup of local bands, all of whom have frequented Yayo over the years. Caravels, Holding Onto Sound, 1819, Stolas, Alaska, Habit, InReflect, Oranges and These Colors all signed on to offer entertainment and help drum up donations for the venue.
Bands told their favorite Yayo performance stories, and fans screamed, “It’s not the last show!” whenever someone uttered the word “closing.”
“Yayo Taco was the first place that hosted all-ages shows without requiring bands to pre-sell tickets.” said Parker Hunt, lead singer of Oranges. “If this place shuts down we’ll probably be playing house shows. It would definitely set us back.”
Now, though the money has been raised and Cho says he will redirect it to SNHD, he remains uncertain about the future of Yayo Taco. “If the health district doesn’t retract the C rating, we’ll still be closing.” says Cho, who disputes the validity of SNHD’s charges against his restaurant.