When one of Washington's premier ramen restaurants closes its doors Wednesday night it does so knowing it will willfully lose thousands of dollars the next day.
That's because TOKİ Underground is choosing to shut down Thursday in solidarity with a nationwide boycott opposing President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policies.
"This is important and it has greater significance beyond our immediate business right now," said general manager Olivier Caillabet.
In all, TOKİ is looking at losing as much as $6,000 by taking in zero patrons Thursday – the day when restaurants across the city generally see an uptick in diners ahead of the weekend.
The restaurant could have remained open, Caillabet said, but chose to close its normally packed doors in a show of support for its Hispanic employees, which make up 70 percent of the back house.
TOKİ isn't alone. Dozens of restaurants across the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, collectively known as the DMV, are planning to remain closed on the "Day Without Immigrants" as part of the nationwide protest.
Organizers are calling on all immigrants, regardless of legal status, to refrain from showing up to work to demonstrate the economic sway they hold as Trump continues to tout immigration policies that include a crackdown on those living in the country illegally, a ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and a plan for a controversial wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
Many businesses are either closing Thursday because they have to, or, in the case of TOKİ and others like it, because they find meaning behind the boycott.
"We ultimately agreed with it – the whole purpose of the protest. We agreed and obviously it sucks, in a sense, to have to close the business, but this is a very important issue, not just for us as a restaurant, but part of the restaurant industry as well and the country more generally," said Caillabet.
Staff from a cross-section of the dozens of establishments that will either be completely closed or partially functioning in the DMV declined to be interviewed for this story.
But celebrity chef Jose Andres, an immigrant who now owns some of the most celebrated restaurants in the area, said five of his establishments will remain closed "In support of our people".
He concluded his announcement tweet with the following: "#ImmigrantsFeedAmerica".
He and TOKİ are just part of the regional movement. Upscale salad shop, Sweetgreen, announced it would close all 18 of its storefronts in the area for the boycott along with approximately 100 other restaurants.
As he reflected on his 20 years in the restaurant industry, Caillabet could not recall a similar moment to the one that will occur Thursday.
"But then again these are kind of extraordinary times, right?" he said.
"This is important and it has greater significance beyond our immediate business right now, and depending on what policies are put in place further down the road, that could also affect our business," he added. -