Restaurant workers in major U.S. cities from Austin to New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Boston are staying home today as a part of the #ADayWithoutImmigrants strike.
The campaign, started largely on social media, asks any foreign-born workers and students to stay home in protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Restaurants, not surprisingly, have been thrust into the spotlight with the walk-outs, and many chefs and owners are closing for the day in a show of support for their workers.
Paul Salmon, co-owner of Jamaican restaurants Miss Lily’s in New York, said he and his team made the decision to close both outposts after talking to the staff and seeing their enthusiasm for the protest.
“It’s a really family environment and we wanted to support our staff,” Salmon told Zagat. “The restaurant workers are a close knit community in New York...and the passion there was very evident. We felt positive that we did what’s right by closing for the day.”
Photo via Tapestry NYC
Celebrity chef, José Andrés took to Twitter Tuesday morning to announce he was closing his Washington D.C. outposts, Jaleo, Zaytinya and Oyamel. “In support of our people & #ADayWithoutImmigrants Thurs 2/16 we will not open @jaleo DC CC MD, @zaytinya or @oyameldc #ImmigrantsFeedAmerica,” he wrote.
Andrés has garnered major attention in the past several months for publicly sparring with the Trump over his policies and is currently locked in a legal battle with the President after pulling out of the new D.C. Trump hotel restaurant. Andrés immigrated to the U.S. from Spain in the 1990s.
Brothers and co-owners of Blue Ribbon Bruce and Eric Bromberg released a joint statement saying: “We stand 100 percent behind our employees, whether they are immigrants or born in America, back of house or front of house. When employees who haven’t missed a day of work in nearly 25 years come to you and ask for a day off to march against injustice, the answer is easy.”
In Washington D.C., Sweetgreen closed all 18 of its outposts, as has local chain Busboys and Poets. In Chicago, Boston and New York, Mario Batali’s Eataly is offering limited service to support those protest. Marc Meyer’s East Village spot Rosie’s, 51st Street Bakery and Cafe, Dough doughnuts, Wilma Jean, Nightingale Nine, chef Suvir Saran's Tapestry, Frankie's Spuntino and Prime Meats are shuttered in NYC.