The window sign announcing the bistro's participation in the effort arrived, purely by chance, on Wednesday. The timing coincided not only with Pres. Donald Trump's threat to yank federal dollars from Chicago, which has declared itself a "sanctuary city" for undocumented immigrants, but with an Associated Press article on Sanctuary Restaurants that Bistro Campagne's general manager Todd Feinberg was interviewed for weeks ago.
It made for an interesting day for Feinberg, who, even though he fielded a handful of calls from angry Trump supporters, remains convinced the bistro's stance "represents solidarity with my neighbors."
"We represent the French culture, next door is Italian [Due Lire] and Miku [sushi]," Feinberg said. "It's about embracing immigrants and different cultures."
Sanctuary Restaurants preach a basic message of "zero tolerance for sexism, racism, and xenophobia" among both customers and staff. These ideals, Feinberg said, that "should be a given ... but I fear we're becoming a world where that does need to be explicitly stated.... These are values we should all hold."
For Feinberg, the Sanctuary Restaurants campaign feels like an extension of the way Bistro Campagne, 4518 N. Lincoln Ave., has always operated.
"People need a warm place to go, and bistros traditionally have been a place of conversation and comfort," he said. "It's about the conversation — 'Why you think the way you do and why I think the way I do.' We can find common ground."
It's a list Feinberg said he's proud to join, but one that he would also like to see swell.
"Eighty restaurants across the U.S.? That's not enough," he said.