Bowling Green Business Becomes 'Sanctuary Restaurant'

Feb 23, 2017

Home Cafe owner Josh Poling
Credit Lisa Autry

Some Kentucky businesses are placing their names on a growing national list of sanctuary restaurants. 

At least ten businesses in the commonwealth have declared themselves sanctuary restaurants, meaning they have zero tolerance racism, sexism, and xenophobia.  The designation also bans harassment against anyone based on their immigrant or refugee status. 

Home Café in Bowling Green has joined the movement.  Owner Josh Poling says restaurants can’t survive without immigrants, documented or undocumented.

"I was brought up in restaurants where I worked with illegal immigrants. I was trained by illegal immigrants," Poling told WKU Public Radio.  "Everything I've ever learned in a kitchen started by a group of people who technically weren't supposed to be here."

Credit Lisa Autry

Home Café has signs posted designating it as a sanctuary restaurant. 

Poling says his current staff is “very white,” but he wouldn’t be opposed to hiring undocumented workers.  He adds, though, that he’ll always obey state and federal laws, and says the designation is largely symbolic.