WASHINGTON - Renowned chef José Andrés announced all of his D.C.-area restaurants will be closed Thursday in support of “A Day Without Immigrants” strike.
Many immigrants in the restaurant and hospitality industries are expected to skip work on Thursday in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. A similar “Day Without Latinos” protest was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin earlier this week.
Andrés, a Spanish-American chef, has been publicly vocal in the past against Trump's policies. Two years ago, Andrés backed out of a deal to open a restaurant at Trump’s new Washington D.C. hotel that opened up last year after controversial comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants.
The celebrity chef said Zaytinya, Oyamel and all three of his Jaleo restaurants located in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will not open on Thursday.
Busboys and Poets also announced it will be closing on Thursday.
Several other restaurants in the nation’s capital are planning to stay open despite expecting to be short-staffed.
Bar Pilar on 14th Street in Northwest D.C. said they may be having a tough time keeping up with their Happy Hour crowds on Thursday because a majority of their staff will not be at work. Instead, they will be participating in the protest, and the executive chef Jessie Miller is all for it.
“Once we told them, ‘Look, we're in support of this. We want you guys to stand up. We want you to fight for your rights and be a part of the city just as much as we are,’ they were happy about it,” said Miller.
Bar Pilar's menu will be limited on Thursday due to the staff shortage, but they will do whatever it can to support each other.
“All of our employees who are working that day have decided to donate their tips to our employees who have chosen to take the day off so that they are not losing a day’s wages,” said Stephanie Juen, the general manager for Bar Pilar. “To stand in solidarity with them and show our support for what they are doing.”
Many in the restaurant industry hope this sends the message loud and clear to President Trump that this country will struggle to function without the work of immigrants.
In addition to taking the day off from work, many in the immigrant community are also encouraging people to stay home, not to shop or buy anything on Thursday.