Rick Bayless to close restaurants for a day to support immigrants

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Chef Rick Bayless. | Sun-Times files

Chef/restaurateur Rick Bayless announced on Facebook today that he is closing four of his Chicago restaurants on Thursday as a show of solidarity for immigrants’ rights. Closed for the day will be Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco and Fonda Frontera.

Across the country, organizers of “A Day Without Immigrants” are urging immigrants to stay home from work and school on Thursday as a peaceful protest of the new administration’s policies on immigration.

A spokesman for Bayless said about 200 staff members from the affected restaurants voted Wednesday afternoon “with overwhelming support to close for the day.”

In his Facebook statement, “A Message Of Strength & Solidarity,” Bayless wrote:

“Out of respect for our staff’s vote to support Thursday’s immigrant civil actions in Chicago and elsewhere, we are closing Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco and Fonda Frontera on Thursday.”

Cruz Blanca and Leña Brava will remain open Thursday, with 10 percent of gross revenue headed to Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

“We believe lasting change is achieved incrementally, and if you can’t participate, we encourage you make contributions to groups working to make lasting change.”

Some of the organizations Bayless suggested as donation recipients include the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Bayless was flying home Wednesday night from a staff trip to Mexico City.

Contributing: Matthew Hendrickson

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