The popular downtown venue was among the first to stand in support of the national “A Day Without Immigrants’ movement. Because the eatery has a ‘we never close our doors’ policy, their menu was modified to accommodate a smaller back of house crew.
In the kitchen, front of house coworkers and those from Smith’s corporate office filled in. Smith owns the venue, along with five other eateries across the state.
Matt Bannon, a data specialist, and Pete Nealon [shown in feature photo], a regional manager, filled in as chef while waitress Sarah Mowbray [below right] spent her day off prepping food and washing dishes.
“On a normal Thursday from opening to close, we’d usually have 12 guys on staff,” Nealon said. “One of our coworkers from Burlington [Brickwall] will be coming down to help us out tonight.”
In a prepared statement, Smith said:
“Brickwall Tavern is proud to support our employees participating in the A Day Without Immigrants protest. Our back of house staff will be walking out in solidarity with the movement, but will still be fully paid. Our front of house staff will be filling in, cooking a limited menu so that we can continue to serve our guests. There is no ‘why’ when it comes to why we decided to support our employees – it wasn’t a decision, just like you don’t decide to have your heart beat. It is a natural, authentic expression of who we are. Supporting our team members’ lives is at the very core of who we are. We are one family – and when part of our family is affected, we are all affected. Brickwall would not exist without immigrants, and neither would American food – and so we stand with our employees today.”
Partner James Watt said Smith employs a diverse staff of over 400 people.
“We are a team, we are family,” he said. “When someone in our family needs help, we are going to do whatever it takes to support them. This is about people who work for us and issues that may affect them and their families’ lives.”
Although closed for renovations, the nearby Cardinal Provisions on Bangs Avenue said via social media Thursday, “Though we are closed, we stand in unity with the countless recent immigrants who have made our restaurant industry lives joyful, textured, diverse, and inevitably easier…”
Also located on Bangs Avenue, Barrio Costero joined in by posting Thursday would be Gringo Night at the Mexican eatery that offers clean, coastal recipes.
“In full support of the national ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ movement, all your favorite gringos will still be here.”
This is not the first time Smith has voiced support for social movements underway across the nation. This year alone, they have run similar events in support of nonprofit and charities. They include support of the Jan 21 Women’s March Asbury Park and the following:
Porta – Pizza Saves Day in support of the David Lynch Foundation on Jan 20.
Porta – Event in support of the ACLU on Jan 30
Porta – Valentine’s Week event in support of Albert Einstein’s International Rescue Committee
Porta – Event in support of Planned Parenthood on Feb 12
Brickwall) – Event in support of Rutgers Law Immigrant Rights Clinic on Feb 16
Pascal and Sabine – The ongoing Seasonal Nina Cocktail in support of NJ Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Asbury Park Sun is affiliated with the triCityNews newspaper.