WICHITA, Kansas – Despite the 911 calls being released, Wichitans don’t want to dwell on the past, but remember and celebrate Tanya Tandoc’s life, through her food.
KSN was there for the reopening of her restaurant. When the doors opened at 11 a.m. Monday morning, customers were greeted with a hug. They say it’s tough walking into Tanya’s restaurant after Friday’s tragic loss, but it’s even harder for the people who worked closely with her.
“She would be so happy because she celebrated life and that’s what we need to do for her, celebrate her,” said Tanya’s Soup Kitchen manager Kelly Lessel.
Celebrating Tanya Tandoc’s life and not dwelling on how she died is what managers at Tanya’s Soup Kitchen wanted to do after reopening.
“We felt like we wanted to celebrate Tanya’s life in her restaurant,” said Tanya’s Soup Kitchen General Manager Sarah Bennett.
Current and past employees came together to serve hearty food to their customers. Sort of a family reunion for the restaurant.
Marci Hawks says she didn’t hesitate to say yes when she was invited back.
“Tanya was such an influencer and teacher. She was the first one that would jump in and help any time anyone needed it in the community,” Hawks said. “I felt like I really wanted to be here to honor that.”
And customers honored her with each bite.
“Her food always brought out livelyhoodness,” said long time customer Sean Thompson. “Just vibrants and everything.”
“She put her heart and soul into that food. You can tell, you could taste it, you could taste her love for what she did,” said long time customer Terri Thornton. “It’s amazing. It’s a tragic loss, not just for her friends and family, but for the community.”
Managers used flowers that were left outside of the restaurant to decorate tables and customers continued to bring more to show their support.
“I wasn’t able to make it over the weekend to leave flowers. They had so many beautiful flowers out. So I thought I’ll just wait until the first day they open and bring them today,” said long time customer Barbara Blumenshine.
Not only were the flowers used for decoration inside, but it was used outside as well.
Employees say they’re a family, no matter how long it’s been since they’ve worked together. You could clearly see how much fun they had working together celebrating Tanya’s life.