notes from the mexican kitchen

A Message of Strength & Solidarity

For three decades, we’ve been a place that has welcomed, respected and promoted our immigrant staff, friends and restaurant family.

Out of respect for our staff’s vote to support Thursday’s immigrant civil actions in Chicago and elsewhere, we are closing Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco and Fonda Frontera on Thursday.

Cruz Blanca and Leña Brava will remain open Thursday, with 10 percent of gross revenue headed to Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

We believe lasting change is achieved incrementally, and if you can’t participate, we encourage you make contributions to groups working to make lasting change. Here are some suggestions:

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

American Civil Liberties Union

Immigrant  Youth Justice League

Sanctuary Restaurants

National Immigration Law Center

National Organization for Women

Southern Poverty Law Center


  1. Good for you! We are supporting our community locally in Bloomington, IL. We will continue to patronize your establishments & provide support.

    1. Yes, very.
      This was a slap in the face to my wife (who is a LEGAL immigrant) and all other legal immigrants. Mr. Bayless basically allowed himself to become a tool of the radical leftist agitators who are trying to take over this country. By supporting the grouping of illegals with legal immigrants he has lost our respect . Despite our having enjoyed his shows over the years, we will no longer support him in any way.

      1. By the way my wife is a nurse. How would he have felt if a loved one went to the hospital, but could not get help due to people not showing up for work? His actions were irresponsible to say the least.

      2. S. West, your wife and you are dissapointed? Probably your Wife forgot that she IS an immigrant too! and that if she feels comfortable in this country now, is because she married you!
        Solidarity is a very important value! does not belong to the right or to the left! it is a Human Value!

    2. dissapointment? for you ! señor Reyes, you are an immigrant or the son of immigrant parents. You need to educate yourself about why people come to this country! How that need is related to the social conditions, the economy of those countries backed up by USA government, keeps its people oppressed and mistreated for years. People come here for a better life, to work hard, to find education for their children, relief from persecution! Read, look for information, be human!

      1. I’m sorry to have read what appears to me that be the popular arguments of those who have no idea why this country was founded, why we thrive as a nation, and why our people and cultural base Is so diverse……. ignorance is no longer an excuse to hold beliefs that no longer hold any validity in reality….. countries are oppressed not because the US supports those who may be the oppresssors, rather the people choose to tolerate the very behavior that they say controls them….. strength has always been in numbers so if these individuals that oppress their citizenry are able to rally enough support for their oppressive behavior, then and only then are they able to continue to exist….. The colonists of the pre-American landscape rose up against what was considered at the time to be one of the most powerful nations on the Earth, (England)…… that took great courage and sacrifice….. many people died for the cause of liberty…… can we say the same for people of other nations today who choose to complain, say they have no power to change the very conditions their subject to and eventually as you described simple abandon their birthright for a place they believe to be better then their country of origin. Yes, people have been slaughtered and exterminated in certain instances in the past and present. And yes, those who have chosen to lead through fear and hatred also have eventually ended up like those they have oppressed… The saying, ” Live by the sword, die by the sword, ” has held great weight throughout time…… When a person or a people choose to abandon their place of origin they forget quickly those that they have abandoned…. While I have seen many South Americans send money back to their respective homelands, I also see an equal amount do nothing for their “other” families they left behind, this behavior is sad because it leaves behind the very people that are willing to fight for a better cause but lack the members necessary to achieve it !!!! The term “MAJORITY” means something here in the US….. or it used to…… now people come from all over the world seeking refuse here thinking things will be easier, more available, just, fair, democratic, free, and most likely important, safe……. well the very freedoms we enjoy come with a price and the cost is expensive…… are we a just nation when we allow those who have no regard for anyone but themselves and forget or disregard the principal premise of a free and democratic society….” United we stand, divided we fall “…. if the majority senses that maybe there has been some disregard or negligence or abusive behavior and that behavior must be addressed at all costs to preserve the Union….. who dares question that deduction, those who have violated the very laws that govern our safety and permanence ??? The time is now to unite as a people, and demand that those nations who have acted irresponsible finally take responsibility for their citizenry, and stop expecting us to continue to bail them out… yes your right, the American government has supported governments that have been abusive to their citizenry and that’s very unfortunate….. but those days are nearing an end and the oppressors are being exposed as quickly as we can send a e mail to one another !! That is the benefit of an ever evolving world….. A world we can believe in and a faith in one another that’s integral to a quality of life that’s improving, not declining….. I say to all those that came here illegally, ask yourself, is it just that you’ve taken a seat at the table without an invitation or is that really just called having a lot of balls to complain about something that technically speaking you should not even have a right to speak against…… These thoughts weigh heavily on my mind every day….. no one of decency and compassion want to see anyone suffering anytime, but the truth is that these oppressors must be stopped not supported and peoples of all nations must take responsibility for one another wherever they may live or choose to abandon…. America is a great experiment….. we can lead the world only if we are able to share our great ideals and see them work in other places as they have worked here….. Lincoln was correct in saying that the future of our great nation is in its youth, so let’s mentor a child in need, let’s adopt a person in distress, let’s help our neighbors take responsibility for themselves and let’s get on with the experiment here !!! A multicultural one, with some balance and fortitude…

    1. Love your restaurants, and your shows.
      You have always brought the warmth of Mexico’s food, people closer to all of us. And now it is time for positive standing of support to a community that is really all of us. Thank you!

  2. I have always admired & respected you for your skill. I now have a deeper respect for you for showing solidarity to immigrants. Thank you.

  3. I am so proud to say Frontera (and its progeny)
    is my favorite restaurant. A third generation of Leffs is carrying on our tradition. We all support your Thursday closing and we support immigration rights. Onward!

  4. It’s never been more important to stand up for what’s right or to do our part to save our country and our world, to save ourselves. Anything any of us can do contributes toward the whole. Thank you for doing something noble and meaningful, and thank you to your immigrant staff for working so hard to make dreams come true.

  5. Rick, where was your support/outrage in 2012 when Obama deported 400K illegals. It was a record number! Most any president has ever deported! Trump hasnt even come close to that number! YOU WERE SILENT!! YOU KEPT YOUR BUSINESS OPEN! You are a hypocrite!! I always enjoyed your shows. WILL NEVER WATCH AGAIN! Very sad you had to politicize your restaurants! You should just stick with what you know, especially when you call out one president but not another.

  6. Kudos to you for standing up for what is right — and standing with your employees in support. This action will garner even more loyalty amongst your staff, and you now have a new customer…

  7. Flying into Chicago tomorrow and looking forward to dinner at Frontera Griill. Disappointed but totally supportive. Thank you for honoring the wishes of your staff.

  8. Thank you not for loving Mexico but for showing that this is not about ilegals. This is for immigration and human beings for the right of being treated as such.

  9. Shoulda stayed out of politics Rick. Can’t respect a guy that wants to incorrectly promote a political stance. We are not an anti-immigrant country, we simply and rightfully expect immigration laws to be followed. Your staff should not be taking any offense (nor it being promoted by you) to the expectation that the immigration process be adhered to. It is a slap in the face to those of us who came here legally, often after patient years of waiting.

    1. Nonsense.

      Rick is being the best kind of American citizen, one who takes his First Amendment rights seriously (as we all should, especially when people like Bannon tell respected journalists to shut up), and who values and listens to his staff at a time when employee rights to be heard are demeaned and disappearing.

      The GOP was not always this stupid and hard-assed when it came to immigration. Presidents Reagan and GHW Bush would not have promoted the kind of narrow and cruel ideas and practices we are witnessing now from Trump (who once hired illegal immigrants himself, when it suited HIS purpose).

      However they got here, if immigrants are now contributing members of their respective communities, then we need to streamline the path to full citizenship.

    2. Are you paying everyone for the day? You get a day off and your employees get shorted a day’s pay they cannot afford to lose. Notice this is not scheduled for a weekend day that is the most profitable for you and the restaurant. Stay out of politics and cook good food.

  10. Proud of your staff. It’s not easy to give up a full days wages when you depend on tips. Thank you for listening to and respecting your employees

  11. Legal immigration I support. Illegal immigration NO. Lets make sure we don’t send the wrong message to the illegal ones in our midst.

  12. Thank you Rick for supporting your employees, many of them immigrants themselves, and for caring enough with economic commitment through your support of the larger cause on behalf of immigrants from across the world.

  13. Only against “ILLEGAL” imigrants.

    Most of us had relatives come through Ellis Island and do it the”legal” way !

    Good luck moving forward. However we will no longer be visiting Fresco in old orchard.
    Or RED O in Santa Monica.

  14. I admire and respect your humanitarian efforts to welcome, respect and promote immigrant staff. American was formed by so many diverse cultures, we must stand up to defend what we believe in. Gracias Sr. Bayless!!!

  15. Rick, please ignore the very small number of haters who posted here. I love your restaurants but I love your support of your employees and their just cause even more. I will try to dine with you more often as a result of your advocacy for immigrants.

  16. I always look forward to eating at Frontera, where I can get good food, often in a sea of “fast food” awful alternatives. Yay for you. Looking forward to buying extra at my next visit.

  17. Thank you Mr. Baylee’s for your standing in solidarity with immigrants in Chicago and in our country. “Immigrants- we get the job done!”

  18. I have always admired you for your knowledge, hard work and skills. I now respect you for showing solidarity to immigrants and making a stand. I always enjoy going to your restaurants and will keep going there, and more proud than ever! 😀

  19. Please do not conflate immigrants’ rights with the rights of illegal immigrants. In the US, and every other nation, illegal immigrants do not have citizens’ rights. The conflation is politically intended to confuse the legitimacy of one with the illegitimacy of the other. Legal immigration continues strongly. So please confirm which “immigrants’ rights” you are supporting, That is the direct question regarding your actions. The growing suffering of the illegal immigrant community demands great compassion and thought, but confusing the two creates a sense of immediate dishonesty,

  20. Thank you! We are all immigrants in this world and honoring our nomadic instincts is a good thing. How is it that our neighbors in Mexico have to wait upwards of 10 years to request residency in the US whereas other countries wait less than 2 years? We promised to defend MX that’s why they don’t have armed forces like we do. Now we attack them? Who is the bigger threat now?

  21. Nicely Done Chef! This business grinds to a halt without the contributions of our brothers and sisters from across the border.

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