I Don't Care Bar and Grill is quite possibly the most aptly named restaurant in the history of man. This week, the owner of the place fired 12 employees because they stayed home from work last Thursday to protest, along with thousands of others nationwide, as part of the "Day Without Immigrants" event.
Many restaurant owners pledged their solidarity to their immigrant workers and shut their restaurants to protest the recent deportations that are part of the Trump Administration's immigration policy—details of which were announced this week .
But Bill McNally, owner of the I Don't Care Bar and Grill, was not feeling it. He texted his employees—in what may be among the most oddly worded pink slip ever issued—the following: "You and your family are fired… I hope you enjoyed your day off and you can enjoy many more. Love you."
— Ethan Hutchins (@ehutchinsnews) February 17, 2017
Can you feel the love?
The workers—all Hispanic, and who had been working for the restaurant since it opened two years ago—couldn't feel it either.
McNally issued a written statement that I Don't Care has a "zero tolerance policy for no show/no call incidents" and claimed that the decision wasn't political. The same day, McNally posted a help wanted ad for cooks and dishwashers on the restaurant's Facebook page.
Naturally, Yelp went nuts, and I Don't Care's rating is now a mere one and a half stars. Yelp has posted an "Active Cleanup Alert"—for venues that have attracted undue attention for one reason or another—and ratings are now split between one-star declarations, that basically claim the owner is the worst human since Attila the Hun, and five-star Hamilton-worthy reviews.
MUNCHIES reached out to I Don't Care Bar and Grill for comment, but has yet to hear back.
Some well-known chefs—including José Andrés and Tom Colicchio—supported the Day Without Immigrants and even went so far as to close their restaurants or publicly announce their support—while other chefs, like McNally, were not so keen on the whole thing.
But all may end well that started miserably. Dusty Oakley, the owner of a restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Brownies Hamburgers, says he has extended an offer to all 12 fired employees of I Don't Care. Oakley also says his offer is not political: "They're in need, I'm in need. So it was a win-win situation," he told Fox23 News.
Meanwhile, 11 million undocumented workers in the US—and the 2.3 million foreign-born works in the restaurant industry—face uncertain times. What's more, the restaurants that depend on them will not have it easy, either.