Madison businesses join ‘sanctuary restaurant’ movement

Madison businesses join ‘sanctuary restaurant’ movement

Restaurants across the country are joining a new movement to keep employees and customers safe, including several businesses in Madison.

Sanctuary Restaurants hope to help those who feel threatened by the current political climate.

It’s easy for employees at Hawks Bar and Grill like Jacob Flores to come to work when they know they’re supported.

“It’s my favorite job that I’ve had so far. The people that work here, they are all great people. They are all family,” Flores said.

Just like family, Hawks Bar and Grill owners said they stick behind their employees and customers. The restaurant is joining others across the nation by becoming a sanctuary restaurant.

“People in this country should simply be treated equally. It doesn’t matter their status, they are human beings,” owner Hawk Sullivan said.

“Growing up being native and Mexican I experienced a lot of adversity in my life and it’s great knowing, especially the place that I work and come often, that is a safe place,” Flores said.

A safe place means no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation or immigration status there’s always a place at the table.

“We don’t have any tolerance for sexism, racism, or xenophobia and also if we see those things we are going to confront them, ” Sullivan said.

Nationally, many restaurants are also working to protect their immigrant workers. Businesses are working with Restaurants Opportunities Centers United to offer resources to their employees and participate in networking strategies to protect targeted workers.

Hawk’s is not affiliated with these groups, but Sullivan said his message remains the same.

“It’s letting people know that they are not alone,” he said.

Madison Originals, an association for restaurants in Madison, currently has 13 restaurants participating in the movement:

Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery

Roman Candle Pizzeria

Ian’s Pizza Madison

Liliana’s Restaurant

Charlie’s On Main

The Old Fashioned

Bonfyre American Grille

Short Stack Eatery

Manna Cafe & Bakery


A Pig in a Fur Coat

Cow & Quince

But not all restaurant industry groups agree with the tactic.

The National Restaurant Association, which represents roughly 500,000 businesses, is instead pushing for an updated verification system that confirms employees’ eligibility to work in the country legally.