A Restaurant Serving Immigrant Causes Opens Steps Away From The White House

Posted: Nov 14, 2019

Come for the food, stay for the social impact: A new advocacy-based restaurant opened its doors in D.C. less than a block from the White House—and it wants to make supporting immigrants as easy and interactive as ordering food from a menu.

Immigrant Food is the brainchild of political activist Peter Schechter who refers to this dining concept as more “cause casual” than fast-casual. “Rather than having a great business that then gives a portion of the profits as an afterthought to a cause, our cause is baked into our business model,” he tells Forbes. “We wouldn’t function without the cause.”

Alongside the food menu featuring a fusion of 40 different cuisines from across the globe sit “engagement menus” that inform diners of the specific ways they can support any of the five immigration-focused NGOs the restaurant has as partners. They include the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, Ayuda, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, CARECEN and CASA.

These “menus” will change frequently, sometimes even on a daily basis, to meet the needs of the affiliated NGOs. Some are seeking translators or paralegals, while others simply need volunteers to help former immigrant detainees learn how to navigate the D.C. metro system. Diners also have the option to add a donation to their bill, which the restaurant later divides and disperses among the organizations. During off-hours, the restaurant transforms into a working hub for these nonprofits to host events like English classes and job search services.

By Brianne Garrett 
November 14, 2019
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