ROGERS PARK — Three Far North Side Chicago restaurants have joined the national "Sanctuary Restaurants" movement, which promises to include a "place at the table for everyone" with a "zero tolerance" policy for discrimination.
In Rogers Park, The Common Cup, 1501 W. Morse Ave., and R Public House pub, 1508 W. Jarvis Ave., registered their diners with the online social movement, while Metropolis Coffee at 1039 W. Granville Ave. became the first shop to officially sign up in Edgewater.
While the concept differs from a legal designation like Chicago's Sanctuary City status, the Sanctuary Restaurants movement promotes "a zero tolerance policy for sexism, racism, and xenophobia" and offers "support and resources to workers, restaurants, and consumers to help create ... a world free from hate, discrimination, and harassment."
Other Chicago restaurants have already signed on to the Sanctuary movement, including Bistro Campagne, Brightwok Kitchen, Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Hopewell Brewing.
Tony Dreyfuss, owner of Metropolis, said after he heard about the movement from Bistro Campagne, he knew he "had to do something."
"What's going on right now politically is antithetical to the very values that America was founded on," he said.
Dreyfuss said the value of diversity and learning from other cultures was instilled in him from a young age.
As a boy, he said he lived in Southeast Asia with his parents, who later opened an English language school in the area.
His mother went on to work with refugees and other immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.
Now, living and working among an array of backgrounds in Edgewater residents and staff members, Dreyfuss said the choice to join the Sanctuary movement was "easy."
"My whole life I've been surrounded by people from other cultures and was taught from the very first teachings of my parents that everybody, no matter where they were from, was equal," Dreyfuss said.
His coffee shop also sent free java to immigration lawyers who showed up to O'Hare airport to help travelers traverse President Donald Trump's Executive Orders restricting travel.
Renee Labrana, owner at R Public House, said she was inspired to join other Sanctuary Restaurants because of Rogers Park's diversity, which is also reflected in her staff and other business owners in the Jarvis Square area.
"We have women, lesbians, Muslims from Pakistan, Hispanic, African-American, Korean and transgender people," Labrana said. "I want assure employees, other business owners and customers alike to know we are accepting of everyone and none of us support hate, discrimination or harassment."
The Common Cup is raising money this month for Refugee One through its monthly charity collection.
Dreyfuss said he hoped the Sanctuary movement would not only encourage empathy, but also keep his coffee house a place where people felt welcomed.
"We need to take a moment to realize these are people, just like you and me, they have thoughts, they have families, they have emotions," he said. "We can't exclude them, and if there's any place they should be welcome it's the local neighborhood coffee shop."
Metropolis Coffee at 1039 W. Granville Ave. has "a place at the table for" all. [Instagram/Metropolis Coffee]