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Culture / Foodie Events

Protest Fail?

Few Houston Restaurants Participate in Day Without Immigrants Boycott

BY // 02.18.17

When Anthony Bourdain‘s hit CNN series Parts Unknown chronicled Houston’s culinary scene, the city’s diversity took center stage with Bourdain visiting Houston’s various immigrant communities, feasting on everything from Viet-Cajun crawfish to authentic Congolese cuisine.

The episode brought national attention to a fact Houstonians have known all along — the city is and has long been a refuge for a multitude of immigrant communities, widely regarded as the most diverse city in America. So when A Day Without Immigrants — a boycott/strike infiltrating businesses across the country (especially restaurants) in response to President Trump’s immigration agenda — took place on Thursday, it was surprising to find how few businesses in Houston participated in the movement.

Houston is brimming with more than 10,000 restaurants, yet I was only able to confirm five participating — Torchy’s Tacos, Tacos A Go Go, Pollo Bravo, Copa Coffee and Food, and Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch. (Let us know in the comment section if we’ve failed to mention any participants.)

The boycott garnered a huge presence on the East Coast rallying support from culinary heavyweights such as chef and restaurateur Jose Andres. Even Texas’ capitol registered nearly 50 restaurants participating restaurants according to the Austin-American Statesman. Houston had only a handful.

“Maybe it will catch on [in Houston]. I’m really surprised it hasn’t [especially considering] it’s a grassroots movement that starts with the workers themselves,” Houston food writer Mai Pham noted in a Facebook comment thread.

Though the widespread movement didn’t gain significant traction in Houston, luckily the city is still making its voice heard on the issue with its own fundraising rendition — Dining For Democracy.

From March 8 through March 22, local restaurants and bars will create special prix-fixe food and cocktail menus ranging in price from $20 to $60 — a similar setup to Houston Restaurant Weeks — with 15 percent of proceeds from each prix-fixe meal benefitting the civil rights organization, ACLU of Texas.

Current participating restaurants include: Axelrad, Big Star, Double Trouble, Downhouse, El Big Bad, Grand Prize, Little Dipper, Poison Girl, and Riel.

If interested in participating, restaurants and bars are encouraged to contact inquiries@diningfordemocracy.com by Thursday, March 2.

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