"I drive by it and I thought today would be a day to come by and order some carnitas and flan," said Melissa Hidalgo, a Whittier resident who came for the first time. "It was just my own way to pay some respect to Kobe Bryant and the family."
Among those waiting in line to order food was Margie Aguirre and her husband, who have been customers for many years.
"I wanted to have lunch here where Kobe used to have his meals," said Aguirre.
The manager of the restaurant, Rodolfo Garcia, said Bryant had been a regular for over 20 years.
"I remember when he told me he wanted to be treated as a customer, 'please do not treat me as a star because I want to feel like a regular customer,'" said Garcia about Kobe.
In the kitchen was Nestor Munoz, one of the cooks who would prepare Kobe's food.
"We are dismayed with the news because we can't believe it," said Munoz in Spanish. "Because he would always have a smile, ordering his food in Spanish and spending time with all of us after he was done eating."
Kobe's favorite place to sit was at a table in the far right-hand corner, closest to the register.
"Right here, I consider this holy ground because his spirit is here," said Aguirre, who was sitting a couple of tables away from Kobe's spot.
The manager said Kobe was first introduced to this restaurant by his wife Vanessa.
"We are really sad with what happened with him," said Garcia. "But we will remember him and he will still live in our hearts forever."