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Support Masala y Maiz

$5,550 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 90 people in 4 months
Created April 13, 2018

On the morning of Tuesday April 10, our restaurant Masala y Maiz was suddenly closed, without warning, because of a corrupt and broken system. It has been an incredibly difficult week for us and for our staff.

We found out that this “temporary suspension” will be for a minimum of 10 days and could be up to a month and that even though everything we have been doing has been completely legal and that our paperwork was all in order, the suspension has already been processed and we can’t reopen until it is lifted. One of the goons told us they were sent by someone with $ and connections and were instructed to shut us down regardless of reason and not to leave until they did so.

Our lawyers followed up on this case and showed us all the inconsistencies in the suspension paperwork filed. They confirmed that though this is a corrupt closure, wholly illegal and without merit, we still have to remain closed until the bureaucratic process is completed or risk further fines and legal problems. This is the dirty systemic power of this type of corruption. We are in this fight now and refuse to let our restaurant and our staff be bullied by some corrupt official and his goons. We will not succumb to this type of abuse.

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This closure is going to cost the restaurant about $300,000 pesos (about $16,600 USD) over these next 10-15 days. That does not include legal fees and re-permitting fees, and does not include the loss of tips for our employees. We will likely be in a legal battle over this closure for the next 2 years. For a young restaurant like ours, this blow is critical. We need your help to get through this.

We have been reeling from the recognition that 1 corrupt person can wreak such terrible havoc on so many people. The hardest part about this is how drastically it effects our staff. We have 9 people working hard with us to make Masala y Maiz the beautiful community dining space that it is. We are all putting our heart and souls into this restaurant. This is a family restaurant and many of our staff work here as the sole support for their families. While their payroll won’t be interrupted during this closure, they are each losing thousands of pesos in tips.

We are working hard to support our staff and keep the business open during this corrupt closure. As Masala y Maiz is currently exiled from our building, we are popping up in restaurants around the city with #MasalayMaizEnElExilio and selling our #DonutsAgainstCorruption at our friend’s cafes. We are looking for new investors and getting real creative in how we get more tips to our staff and rent money together.

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We created Masala y Maiz as a reflection of our communities, our families and our love for bringing people together around a table. And because of who we are, we use that table and our food to openly critique colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy and systemic oppression. Our restaurant has gotten a wonderful response from a very active community of supporters and has been featured in national TV, the Discovery Channel, Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appetite, and so much more.

However, the thing we are most proud of is the culture that we are building here. We are creating the work environment we have always wanted at restaurants. We provide health insurance, regular bonuses, a matched savings plan, and our staff are welcome to bring their kids to work. It’s a wonderful place to be and that comes through in the food that we create and the dining experiences our guests have.

Restaurants survive on thin margins and are, more than anything, a wild eyed labor of love (and exhaustion!). We have been fortunate to create such a dream of a restaurant and have a place to pour our hearts and souls into. We are confident we are going to get through this mess and come out stronger than before. But we also recognize that this is the time that we need to ask for help from our communities.

If you have been following our work or have been able to eat at Masala y Maiz, you know how special this place is. Anything you can give to support the project and our staff would be greatly appreciated. We are trying to raise $5000 USD over the next week to help get through this period. Anything you can give helps us a lot.

Thank you so much for your support of Masala y Maiz, our staff and for standing by us in this fight. Follow us on IG @masalaymaiz to find out more about what we are doing.

with humility and love,

Saqib y Norma
Chef-Owners
Masala y Maiz


29093840_15236466490_r.jpeg(Some of our wonderful crew: Gianina, Judith, Mariel, Fernando, Cristina, Miguel and Jonathan)
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We launched this gofundme campaign when we thought we would be closed for 10-15 days max. When we had no idea how we would make it through 15 days of being closed and how we would keep our restaurant alive and our staff together which such a massive loss for our young restaurant.

It has been 4 months now that our restaurant has been forced closed. We have been waiting for a response from the agency that closed us and have yet to get any notice on when or if we will be allowed to reopen. It’s incredibly frustrating, difficult and often feels hopeless.

We took our restaurant into exile and started doing collaborations and pop ups around the city with the support of some of our favorite chefs. Chef Eduardo Garcia invited us to do our masala fried chicken night at his restaurant LALO! Chef Enrique Olvera invited us to be the first resident chefs at his new project Casa TEO. Chef Joaquin Cardoso invited us to do a number of brunches at Loup Bar. Chefs Mercedes Bernal & Rodney Cusic invited us to a collaboration menu at their stunning restaurant Meroma. Famed chinamperos Yolcan invited us to cook and serve a fundraising meal at their chinampa del sol in Xochimilco as part of their Chef-Semilla series. Chef Scarlett Lindeman and co-owner Jake Lindeman of Cicatriz Cafe started selling our donuts weekly to help keep our business and staff afloat. Cafe Buna started selling our chai and on their window in big letters they wrote that it was made with the tears of our corrupt enemies!

Through all of this, our clientele have stood by our side, sending us messages of support and showing up to each of our pop-ups, collaborations, private dinners and classes. We feel so fortunate to have this love and support from our community. It has kept us and our staff moving forward and keeping us strong as we fight to get back open.

You can read about what we have been going through in articles in the August 2018 issue of Food & Wine magazine and in the LA Times (both linked below). You can follow our restaurant in exile through our Instagram account @masalaymaiz.

We are going to get through this. We, and all our supporters, partners and community, are committed to being stronger together in this fight. Thank you all so much for your donations and support. We are working hard and we cant wait for you to join us at the table. 

in community,
Saqib y Norma


Masala y Maiz

May 12, 2018 LA Times:
http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-mexico-city-restaurant-20180512-story.html

August 2018 Food & Wine Magazine
https://www.foodandwine.com/travel/restaurants/masala-maiz-mexican-indian-restaurant
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$5,550 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 90 people in 4 months
Created April 13, 2018
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