Some NYC Restaurants Close To Support 'Day Without Immigrants'

From the January 29 rally for immigrants in Battery Park (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

An immigrant worker strike against President Trump's executive order on immigration that started in D.C. has spread to other U.S. cities, including New York. A number of area restaurants will either close or operate short-staffed for "Day Without Immigrants," to show solidarity with the immigrants who help the industry function. In Prospect Heights, El Atoradero and Madre Mezcaleria announced they "will be closed [today] in support of immigrants nationwide. We are an immigrant owned business, employ many immigrants, and are proud to serve our immigrant customers. They are what make America great and we support them!"

Blue Ribbon restaurants— Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Brooklyn, Sushi, Sushi Bar & Grill, Sushi Izakaya, Hi-Bar, and Downing Street Bar—will be closing as well. Owner Eric Bromberg told Eater, "This is not a casual decision. But there are times in life when money isn’t the most important thing."

Staff started discussions on Monday to assess how many employees would not be going to work. Those absences, as well as the company’s support of the cause, led them to the decision to close. “We stand 100% behind our employees — whether they are immigrants or born in America, back of house or front of house,” reads the group’s statement. “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.”

Eric, Bruce, and Ken Bromberg have been running restaurants in New York for going on 28 years. “We are part of the fabric of New York City,” says Bromberg, noting “the enormous ups and downs” that his restaurants have gone through, from the recession when “staff took pay cuts to keep businesses open” to September 11th.

Eataly will be open, but has warned customers of potential "delay":

Frankie's 457 Sputino and Prime Meats will be closed, while Frankie's 570 Spuntino and Cafe Pedlar will remain open; the Frankie's team said, "While closing two businesses for a day might be a sacrifice in sales, it does not come close to the sacrifices our teams have made in running our restaurants over the past decade, and we stand behind them, their families, and their loved ones."

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Trump administration's appeal for a stay of the restraining order on the controversial immigration and refugee ban. Rather than appeal to the Supreme Court, the administration is reportedly devising a new executive order that it hopes will stand up to legal challenges.