Update: Many more restaurants apparently have closed for the day without warning. Some, such as Torchy’s Tacos, have cited a lack of employees. Mini-chains such as Torchy’s and Tacodeli appear to have some locations closed, with other locations still open for business.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler responded to the news that restaurants are preparing to close as a show of solidarity in response to the ongoing ICE operation.
“This is a country of immigrants and a city of immigrants, and I love it when we stick up for each other here,” Adler told the Statesman.
A grassroots movement that seems to be a response to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ongoing sting known as Operation Cross Check, as well as to the Trump administration, has called on people to unite in protest. A Spanish-language flier that has circulated in Austin and on social media calls on the “undocumented, residents, citizens and immigrants from all over the world” to boycott work, opening their businesses for the day, buying gasoline, attending class and more. The flier (see above) presumably addresses President Donald Trump with the line, “Mr. President, without us and our contribution, this country would be paralyzed.” The day of protest has been picking up steam around the country. Celebrity chef José Andrés announced recently that he will close his restaurants in Washington D.C.
A few Austin restaurants are getting ahead of the game, and have posted their own fliers on their doors stating that they will be closed Thursday, and others may simply not open Thursday without advance notice.
The participants in the protest are obviously not just Mexican restaurants or ones that employ Latino workers. Chef Otto Phan of Kyoten Sushiko only has two employees, neither of whom are Latino, but he says his Thursday closure is acknowledgment of many of his former peers and informal mentors.
“I will always have much love for the mentors that got me here. Masa (Takayama of Masa in NYC), Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Tatsu (Aikawa of Ramen Tatsu-ya) are the big names I give out,” Phan said in a text message. “But I’ve had mentoring from a lot of ‘Pablos’ along the way that have played an equal role in my development. I wouldn’t be here today without their kindness.”
If you see or hear of more Austin restaurants participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The restaurants that have confirmed via phone, or who as of Tuesday afternoon had signs on their doors announcing, their closure Thursday:
- Beto’s Mexican Restaurant, 3518 E. Seventh St.
- El Borrego de Oro, 3900 S. Congress Ave.
- Casa Garcia’s (all locations)
- Casita Nicole Antojitos Mexicanos, 9618 Manchaca Road
- Los Catrachos, 1015 E. Braker Lane
- El Chilito, 1623 E. Seventh St.
- Churro Co. 1620 E. Riverside Drive
- Mi Cocina, 948 Payton Gin Road
- Las Delicias, 111 W. William Cannon Drive
- Dragon Delights, 1919 E. Riverside Drive
- Enchiladas y Mas, 1911 W. Anderson Lane
- Hay Elotes, 2214 E. Seventh St.
- Home Slice Pizza, 1415 S. Congress Ave.
- Hyde Park Bar & Grill, 4521 West Gate Blvd.
- Jalisco’s, 6601 S. Congress Ave.*
- Koriente, 621 E. Seventh St.
- Kyoten Sushiko, 4600 Mueller Blvd. #1035
- Lima Criolla, 6406 N. I-35
- McDonald’s, 303 E. Oltorf St. 414 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 6010 W. Parmer Lane. 1209 Barton Springs Road
- La Mexicana, 1924 S. First St.
- La Placita, 5310 S. Pleasant Valley Road
- Pollo Regio, 110 E. William Cannon Drive*
- Mi Tradicion, 8716 Research Blvd.
- Regia Bakery, 1909 US 183
- Rinconcito Chapin, 8911 N. Lamar Blvd.
- Sap’s, 4514 West Gate Blvd.*
- El Secreto de la Abuela, 817 Airport Blvd.
- Serranos, 5030 US 290
- Super Moreliana, 6112 US 183
- Sweet Sweet Co.
- Tacodeli, 4200 N. Lamar Blvd. and 701 Loop 360
- Taco More North, 9414 Parkfield Drive
- Tacos Lylys, 9318 N. I-35
- Taqueria Adelitas, 5501 S. Congress Ave.
- Taqueria Arandinas, 2110 E Riverside Dr.
- Taqueria Ceibas, 101 E. Rundberg Lane
- Taqueria los Jaliscienses, 1815 W. Ben White Blvd.
- Taqueria Vallarta, 6628 S. Congress Ave.*
- Tio Dan Puffy Tacos, 409 Round Rock Ave.*
- Torchy’s Tacos, 3005 S. Lamar Blvd.
- Veracruz All Natural
*Restaurant closures reported by readers, and these restaurants are also not answering their phones.
Some restaurants, such as Takoba, have said they are closing, though a manager didn’t speak directly to the reason.
In addition to restaurants closing, purveyors and suppliers are also closing. El Milagro Tortillas has confirmed they will be closed Thursday. The tortilla company in East Austin supplies tortillas and chips either directly or through distributors for more than a thousand restaurants and stores in the area, according to an employee.
Some restaurants that will be open for business Thursday are showing their support through donations. Vinaigrette, the upmarket salad-centric restaurant off South Congress Avenue, is celebrating its one year anniversary this week and will donate 50% of proceeds to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center to “stand with and support their friends, staff and neighbors on ‘Day Without Immigrants Strike.'”
- Mayor Adler in open letter to Austin: ICE raids harming community
- APD chief to ICE: ‘I want to know what’s going on’
- Castro confirms feds conducting sweeping immigration raids in Texas
- Group protests against federal immigration operation in Austin area
- Austin teachers give students information on immigration rights
Additional reporting by Perla Arellano of AhoraSi.