News

Flea Street Cafe, a 'sanctuary restaurant'

While debate persists in online forums and emails to the City Council about whether Menlo Park should become a "sanctuary city," Jesse Cool's Flea Street Cafe has declared itself a "sanctuary restaurant."

The organic and local food destination, located at 3607 Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park, registered as a "sanctuary restaurant" on March 17, and is the only food establishment between Burlingame and Santa Cruz to be so registered, according to the movement's website, sanctuaryrestaurants.org.

Ms. Cool said she and the restaurant staff made this decision together, in an effort to support restaurant employees who are immigrants or whose family members are immigrants. She learned about the movement from a colleague and was a quick supporter.

The initiative is a joint project of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and Presente.org, according to its website. Registered restaurants with the group are said to promote a "zero tolerance policy for sexism, racism, and xenophobia, and (the belief) that there is a place at the table for all."

At Flea Street Cafe, signs are posted and fliers distributed in support of the initiative. Employees are informed of their rights when dealing with immigration officers. And for customers, at the bottom of each receipt is this message: "Immigrants Make America Great! We all come from families of immigrant descent."

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The restaurant staff "were very moved," Ms. Cool said. "They felt like they were really respected and cared for."

All of the restaurant's employees are legal residents, Ms. Cool said, but that's hasn't kept some of them, particularly those with families from Mexico or Central or South America, from voicing concerns about what might happen during the Trump administration, given the president's plans to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S., restrict immigration and deport undocumented residents.

"They are our workforce and should be treated and paid with complete respect," Ms. Cool said, referring to employees who are immigrants. "They take care of me. They take care of my customers. We need to take care of them."

Some staff, she said, expressed concern that the move could deter some customers from eating there. So far, customer responses have been positive, but, she noted, negative responses may not be expressed publicly.

"If there are people that don't agree with us or think this is wrong and they don't want to dine with us, that's OK," she said. "There will be others who do. I think standing up during times like this for what you believe is right, is important."

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To her, making a public expression of support for immigrants was a personally significant action. "My parents came through Ellis Island," said Ms. Cool. "A lot of our families started as immigrants – look at Trump's wife. To instill fear without really thoughtful consideration for people who may have come from other places and are living here, and have gone through due process to live here it's just scary."

Go to sanctuaryrestaurants.org for more information.

The Menlo Park City Council is scheduled to discuss passage of a sanctuary city ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday, April 4. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.

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Flea Street Cafe, a 'sanctuary restaurant'

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 23, 2017, 11:27 am

While debate persists in online forums and emails to the City Council about whether Menlo Park should become a "sanctuary city," Jesse Cool's Flea Street Cafe has declared itself a "sanctuary restaurant."

The organic and local food destination, located at 3607 Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park, registered as a "sanctuary restaurant" on March 17, and is the only food establishment between Burlingame and Santa Cruz to be so registered, according to the movement's website, sanctuaryrestaurants.org.

Ms. Cool said she and the restaurant staff made this decision together, in an effort to support restaurant employees who are immigrants or whose family members are immigrants. She learned about the movement from a colleague and was a quick supporter.

The initiative is a joint project of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and Presente.org, according to its website. Registered restaurants with the group are said to promote a "zero tolerance policy for sexism, racism, and xenophobia, and (the belief) that there is a place at the table for all."

At Flea Street Cafe, signs are posted and fliers distributed in support of the initiative. Employees are informed of their rights when dealing with immigration officers. And for customers, at the bottom of each receipt is this message: "Immigrants Make America Great! We all come from families of immigrant descent."

The restaurant staff "were very moved," Ms. Cool said. "They felt like they were really respected and cared for."

All of the restaurant's employees are legal residents, Ms. Cool said, but that's hasn't kept some of them, particularly those with families from Mexico or Central or South America, from voicing concerns about what might happen during the Trump administration, given the president's plans to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S., restrict immigration and deport undocumented residents.

"They are our workforce and should be treated and paid with complete respect," Ms. Cool said, referring to employees who are immigrants. "They take care of me. They take care of my customers. We need to take care of them."

Some staff, she said, expressed concern that the move could deter some customers from eating there. So far, customer responses have been positive, but, she noted, negative responses may not be expressed publicly.

"If there are people that don't agree with us or think this is wrong and they don't want to dine with us, that's OK," she said. "There will be others who do. I think standing up during times like this for what you believe is right, is important."

To her, making a public expression of support for immigrants was a personally significant action. "My parents came through Ellis Island," said Ms. Cool. "A lot of our families started as immigrants – look at Trump's wife. To instill fear without really thoughtful consideration for people who may have come from other places and are living here, and have gone through due process to live here it's just scary."

Go to sanctuaryrestaurants.org for more information.

The Menlo Park City Council is scheduled to discuss passage of a sanctuary city ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday, April 4. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.

Comments

Jane Gill
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm
Jane Gill, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm


Ms. Cool is doing a good job of virtue-signaling.

Since she gets to pick and choose, I wonder which tax laws she doesn't like complying with.

Ms. Cool notes that her parents came through Ellis Island. If so, I must assume they were legal immigrants.




Alice Newton
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm
Alice Newton, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm
Downtowner
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:46 pm
Downtowner, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Well, if all her employees are legal residents, her statement is superfluous. A political statement made to get free advertising, maybe?
Jesse's parents arrived legally. Congrats. What does this have to do with the the "undocumented" issue? Unless her legal employees are hoping to smuggle in their F&F, there's no basis for anxiety.


Debbie Mytels
another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm
Debbie Mytels, another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Bravo, Jesse Cool! You are demonstrating that "sustainability" not only involves treating the Earth and our food sources with care, but also that it's essential to treat one's employees with equal respect. You continue to be a great role model for the food service industry. Thank you for your inspirational leadership.


Lucy
Woodside High School
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Lucy, Woodside High School
on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm

"All of the restaurant's employees are legal residents, Ms. Cool said..."
"To instill fear without really thoughtful consideration for people who may have come from other places and are living here, and have gone through due process to live here it's just scary."

Instilling fear? Again, try to get the what the difference is between immigrant and illegal-immigrant. Why would you worry if you went through "due process"?


Illegal Great-Grandparents. Or not.
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Illegal Great-Grandparents. Or not., Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Inclusion. Versus the unhinged comments against inclusion.

Easy choice! Bravo to Ms. Cool.


re: the Ellis Island 'legality' meme:

- Until the late 19th century, there was very little federal regulation of immigration—there were virtually no laws to break.
- Before the 20th century, there was virtually no bureaucracy responsible for enforcing immigration laws.

So when my great-grandparents came through Ellis and other points of entry, there was really no such thing as legal vs illegal immigration. Mine were just as illegal as they were legal.


Chip
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm
Chip, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm

@ Illegal G-G. Or not.
Yes, that is true but they did at least get registered while entering the country. They had to give their names & point of origin. They also had to at appear to be free of communicable diseases.
That's much different than many coming now, anonymously hiding with no names, place of origin, or health status.
I know which method I consider preferable.


Illegal Great-Grandparents. Or not.
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm
Illegal Great-Grandparents. Or not., Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm

@Chip: One set of great grandparents came overland, not through Ellis, so, eh, not so much on the 'registering'. Yours?

The reason for no immigration law back then was to quickly supply the business community with a low wage workforce. Sound familiar to today? Perhaps we should revisit the McCain/Bush immigration plan supported by democrats a decade ago, except the GOP and their support of the business community still want cheap, undocumented workers. See: Koch Brothers and their open border plan, amnesty, etc.. Money talks.

2007 - Kennedy/Kyl/McCain/Bush: "The bill's sole sponsor in the Senate was Majority Leader Harry Reid, though it was crafted in large part as a result of efforts by Senators Kennedy, McCain and Kyl, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, and input from President George W. Bush, who strongly supported the bill."


Pierre LeMond
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm
Pierre LeMond, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Would I be allowed in, seated, and served if I wore my red "Make America Great Again" hat to Flea Street? Would that make the other Flea Street patrons uncomfortable? Or would I be celebrated by displaying some diversity of thought?


whatever
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm
whatever, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Yep go for the free publicity Jesse.


The Color Purple
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm
The Color Purple, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm

@Pierre: if you wore a red MAGA hat into Flea Street, the workers if not Jesse herself would probably spit in your lemonade.


Whitey
Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm
Whitey, Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Yes, Jesse, we all came from immigrants. But mine came here legally and respected the law. I guess I won't be eating at Flea Street Cafe anymore where laws aren't respected.


Yet More Of The Same
another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Yet More Of The Same, another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm

My my my -- aren't our resident right-of-right wing snowflakes sensitive today???

What's funny is that many of these same people would have no problem hiring these same "illegals" to do their dirty work for them...


Hmmm
another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:59 pm
Hmmm, another community
on Mar 23, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Pierre- men are supposed to remove their hat in a restaurant, regardless of what it does or doesn't say.


Former Fan
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm
Former Fan, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Now that I know that Ms. Cool does not respect the rule of law, I will no longer visit her restaurant. What a shame that she doesn't understand that there are many who do not support the ultra liberal open borders anything goes stupidity of the so called sanctuary movement. [Portion removed; don't accuse others of illegal action without evidence.]


pogo
Registered user
Woodside: other
on Mar 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm
pogo, Woodside: other
Registered user
on Mar 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Fantastic point, Pierre!


katie m leeds
Registered user
Atherton: West of Alameda
on Mar 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm
katie m leeds, Atherton: West of Alameda
Registered user
on Mar 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

for all of you with your heads in the sand about the immigrants in this country . . . they are not all criminals as the potus would like us to believe

this says it all: Web Link


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