Residents Gather to Remember Iconic Arby’s Sign

People from across the Twin Cities flocked to Arby’s Island in Uptown Friday night to celebrate the memory of a fallen icon: a fast food sign that lit the corner of Lake St and Emerson Ave for more than 47 years.

Organizer Noah Hevey billed the event as a candle light vigil. Rather than mournful, the atmosphere was friendly and celebratory as the temperature hovered around zero degrees. The image of the old Arby’s sign was projected onto a screen in the parking lot while attendees displayed cardboard signs and lit candles in remembrance.

Fire dancer at the Uptown Arby’s vigil.

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Arby’s Restaurant Group provided free t-shirts and the Moxy hotel provided Arby’s signature roast beef sandwiches, which were enjoyed afterwards in the lounge across the street.

A statement from Arby’s president Rob Lynch offered “condolences for the loss of a community icon.” The statement explained the reason for the restaurant’s closing was the unwillingness of the property owner to offer a 10-year lease.

Lynch continued, “Tonight we bid farewell to the Uptown Arby’s and its beautiful sign, but this doesn’t have to be goodbye forever. We have more than 60 Arby’s restaurants in Minneapolis and surrounding areas within 3 to 5 miles of here.”

Printed lyrics to a parody version of Danny Boy were distributed to the crowd. The music started, and it went like this:

Oh Arby’s Sign, the meats, the meats are calling
With curly fries and all the tasty sides
The sign is gone and now I will be bawling
‘Tis you ’tis you, must go and I must bide

But come ye back when hunger’s in the belly
Or when the city’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Arby’s sign, oh Arby’s sign, I love you so

Of you I dream, oh when the night is falling
And then I’m fed, as fed I may well be
I pray you find the place where I am lying
And kneel and place an Arby’s there for me

And I will know the sixty other metro locations
And so my plate still warm and sweet shall be
For you shall serve and show me that you love me
And I will eat in peace, oh Arby’s come to me

Solemn walk through the drive-thru.
Moxy hotel bar distributing sandwiches.