DOWNTOWN — Chef Rick Bayless is closing four restaurants Thursday as his workers plan “A Day Without Immigrants” in Chicago.
Bayless’ move to close Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco and Fonda Frontera Thursday come as organizers across the U.S. are urging immigrants to stay home from workplaces and classes Thursday in an effort to show how important immigrants are to America’s economy.
The celebrity chef said the closure is out out of respect for his staff’s vote to support Thursday’s immigrant civil actions in Chicago and elsewhere. About 200 employees work at the four restaurants, a representative confirmed.
“For three decades, we’ve been a place that has welcomed, respected and promoted our immigrant staff, friends and restaurant family,” Bayless wrote in a statement.
Cruz Blanca and Leña Brava, Bayless’ newest West Loop restaurants, will remain open Thursday, and 10 percent of revenue will be donated to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Some Pilsen and Little Village restaurants and businesses also plan to close Thursday.
Chef Alfonso Sotelo, a Bayless alum, will also close his 5 Rabanitos Restaurante and Taqueria, 1758 W. 18th St. Taqueria El Mezquite, 1756 W. 18th St., and Ram’s Restaurant, 2302 S. Blue Island Ave in Pilsen, will also close Thursday, owners confirmed.
BomBon, a bakery on 26th Street in Little Village, will also close as workers are planning to stay home from work Thursday, owner Laura Perea confirmed. The family’s 18th Street bakery in Pilsen may also close.
“My whole staff asked me not to work. There are a lot of Latinos in the city who want to be part of the movement,” said Perea, who serves a Latino clientele. “As an owner, it’s not the best feeling, but I have to understand where they are coming from. I have to support them.”
Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, Pilsen’s chamber of commerce, will also close in solidarity with immigrant workers Thursday, said executive director Alex Esparza.
“It’s a bigger issue than just, ‘We’re being targeted,'” said Esparza, who was born in Mexico. “When you talk about race, you’re talking about me.”
At 11 a.m. Thursday, Arise Chicago and other immigrant rights groups will protest deportations in Union Park.
Bayless urged fans to participate in the walkout Thursday or make contributions to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Youth Justice League, Sanctuary Restaurants, National Immigration Law Center, National Organization for Women and Southern Poverty Law Center.
“A Day Without Immigrants” actions are also planned in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Austin, Texas, according to the Associated Press.
Out of respect for r staff’s vote to support Thurs’s immigrant civil action, we r closing Frontera Grill, Topolobampo,Xoco & Fonda Frontera
— Rick Bayless (@Rick_Bayless) February 16, 2017