WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A Memphis-area restaurant chain considered a Mid-South institution may be closing its doors forever this weekend.

Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant has been in business since 1956. The chain has two remaining locations, the original in West Memphis and another in East Memphis off Summer Avenue.

If one Mid-South restaurant chain was ever truly a part of the community and food culture, some people say it would be Pancho’s.

Tuesday, customers waited in a long line at its West Memphis restaurant on Broadway when they heard it may be closing its doors.

“We heard Pancho’s was not going to be open very long and we just had to come and eat,” customer Jeanie Martz said.

WREG placed several calls and left messages at both Pancho’s locations, but so far we haven’t heard back from their managers confirming the closures.

Many customers say word started spreading via Pancho’s employees that the last day of business for its two Memphis-area restaurants is Saturday.

“We’re really sad. We’ve been coming as long as I can remember, even before I could walk with my parents,” Michelle Floyd said.

It’s believed the owners of the restaurants may be closing to focus more attention on the Pancho’s cheese dip and salsa products sold in 1,200 stores.

Some of the people remember the first Pancho’s restaurant opening in West Memphis in 1956, with a commitment to food and community, and recently helping during the pandemic.
 
“I remember when the pandemic happened,” West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said. “You had people that were needing food whether they were home or coming from work, civil service people. Pancho’s stepped up and helped us and that goes so much with me.”

Apparently it means a lot to the Mid-South, as Pancho’s possibly prepares to say “adios, amigos” to its restaurant’s customers.

“Lots of memories. We will miss it. We love Panchos,” Lisa Lashlee said.