SALT LAKE CITY – Thanks to a viral TikTok video, a struggling local business has been saved after the owner nearly closed its doors forever.
The family business has been serving enchiladas, tacos and many other dishes at Nico’s Mexican Restaurant in the North Temple for almost 10 years.
But like many small businesses, the pandemic nearly killed them.
“It was really slow after the pandemic,” said Nico Cardenas (translated from Spanish).
Carlos Cardenas watched his father’s dream almost disappear.
“I see him very stressed out all the time,” said Carlos. “Not sad, but you can tell he’s trying to hide it.”
When Nico mentioned that he might have to close the restaurant doors forever, Carlos asked him to let him try one of his ideas.
“Every time he talks to me about wanting to stop, wanting to give up, it kills me because our family never gives up,” Carlos said.
So Carlos didn’t give up and posted a TikTok about his father’s hopes, once again dashed by a lack of customers. It has been viewed nearly 6 million times and received 1.2 million likes.
@clumzycarlos he looks so stressed out😭😭 if you live in utah make sure to check out my dad’s restaurant! It’s called Nico’s Restaurant 😁😁 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #viral #sad #restaurant #smallbusiness #relatable #mexican #mexicantiktok #mexicanrestaurant #utah ♬ sonido original – :’)
Now the family is overwhelmed with all the love and support they have received so far.
“It’s really crazy to me how the internet works,” said Carlos. “On one day maybe 10 customers walked in in our 11 hours that we are open. And the next day we have hundreds.”
Utahns who saw the viral video flocked to 1458 W. North Temple to sample the food.
Before that, Nico was hesitant about social media. But now they have already made two more videos with Carlos’ help.
“I think now he’s realised, ‘Ok, I need to be more open with social media and I need to try that more,'” Carlos said.
Carlos says the past week has been the busiest ever and his dad’s hard work has only inspired him more.
“To see him fight and then finally pay off – that makes me very happy for him,” said Carlos.
Carlos now runs the restaurant Instagram, Facebook and tick tock Pages, and he and his father are already planning more creative videos.
Nico hopes to be shirtless in one of them.