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Dining for Democracy

Restaurants and bars can participate in a fundraiser from March 8 to 22 to support the ACLU and its efforts to protect immigrant rights.
Restaurants and bars can participate in a fundraiser from March 8 to 22 to support the ACLU and its efforts to protect immigrant rights. Photo courtesy of Dining for Democracy

To celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made to Houston’s food scene and to show support for the ACLU of Texas's work on behalf of immigrants, several of the city’s top restaurants and bars will participate in the fundraiser Dining for Democracy, lasting from March 8 to March 22.

Organizers of Dining for Democracy said by press release that currently, immigrants, including those who are lawful permanent residents, as well as U.S. citizens with immigrant family members, are feeling threatened more than at any time in recent memory.

Dining for Democracy took root as Benjy Mason of Downhouse decided that he, along with some friends, wanted to create an event to show solidarity and support for the ACLU.

Restaurants will offer a special fixed-price menu of at least three courses, priced between $20 and $60, with 15 percent (pre-tax and pre-tip) from each prix fixe meal donated to the ACLU of Texas. Bars will feature a special selection of two to eight cocktails, with 15 percent of sales going to the ACLU.

One of Houston's leading immigration attorneys, John Nechmann, said he hopes that this event will make other major cities take notice. "Houston is a city built on strong immigrant roots; in my opinion, we are and have always been a city that welcomes, not a city that builds walls." He added that "the [hospitality] industry, especially, is affected when it comes to immigration issues."

Today, across the nation, restaurants and bars have closed for the day to recognize "A Day Without Immigrants" to protest President Trump's immigration policies. KHOU reported a few places in Houston that did this, including Torchy's Tacos, Tacos A Go-Go, Copa Coffee & Food (food truck) and Pollo Bravo.

Any restaurant or bar that would like to participate in Dining for Democracy should send an email to [email protected] before March 2.

Participating restaurants and bars currently include: Axelrad, Presidio, Riel, Double Trouble, Poison Girl, Downhouse, Little Dipper, Big Star, Grand Prize and El Big Bad.

Find more information about Dining for Democracy on its Facebook page.
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.