Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has closed Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva (pictured here), Barrio Cafe, and Barrio Urbano as part of today's nationwide Day Without Immigrants protest.
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has closed Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva (pictured here), Barrio Cafe, and Barrio Urbano as part of today's nationwide Day Without Immigrants protest.
Evie Carpenter

Phoenix Restaurants Participating in Day Without Immigrants Protest Today

A handful of Phoenix-area businesses are participating in today's nationwide "Day Without Immigrants" protest.

The protest, which has been spreading through word of mouth and social media posts throughout the week, was organized in response to the hard-line immigration policies of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Organizers wanted to highlight the economic and social impact that immigrants bear on the U.S. economy and culture.

The grassroots action is calling on immigrants, and all those who stand in solidarity with immigrants, to refrain from going to work and school, purchasing goods, and eating out as part of a general national strike.

Many nationally recognized restaurateurs have been vocal about their participation in today's protest. Most notably, celebrity chef José Andrés, a native of Spain, announced earlier this week that three of his award-winning D.C.-area restaurants would be closed today.

This flier has been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites this week.
This flier has been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites this week.

At least one prominent Phoenix restaurateur is participating in today's protest.

Silvana Salcido Esparza, fresh off earning a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist nod yesterday, has closed Barrio Cafe, Barrio Urbano, and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva for the day.

"Barrio Café, Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, and Barrio Urbano is closed ... in Solidarity for our immigrant brothers and sisters. Thank you for your support," read a message that was posted on the Barrio Cafe Facebook page on Wednesday night.

Another business closed for the day is Tres Leches Cafe, the popular Mexican-inspired coffee bar in the Grand Avenue Arts District. The cafe posted a spare black-and-white image on their Facebook page earlier today, informing customers that it would be closed.

Taquerias El Chino, a Sonoran-based taco chain with an outpost near downtown Phoenix, also announced on Facebook that it would be closing early in support of the protest.

Rafael Ung, the owner of Taqueria El Chino, said that he had to keep his restaurant open for part of the day because of prior catering-related commitments.

"We have to stay in the fight together. That's the only way we're going to get things done," Ung told New Times.

When asked if he was afraid of closing his restaurant for the day and possibly losing customers, he replied: "I think the benefits outweigh the bad. I mean, of course, it's scary. But we've got to do something."

Otherwise, the protest seemed to have little impact on other businesses in the Valley.

A student-led demonstration, organized by members of TheResistance Phoenix,  was scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Street location of Phoenix's Fair Trade Cafe.

"We are making a sacrifice tomorrow and showing respect for those on strike in response to Trump's deportation raids," the event description explains. "We are a country of immigrants and that's part of what makes us great."

David Drennon, spokesman for the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, said at about 11 a.m. that he hadn't heard of any walkouts at local resorts and hotels.

"There's been nothing that's popped up anywhere for any of our Arizona sites," he said.

The association represents about 500 hotel and B&B businesses statewide.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

New Times reporters Antonia Farzan and Ray Stern contributed to this story.

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