‘Top Chef’ alum adds note to receipts: Immigrants make America great

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NEW YORK -- A Brooklyn restaurant's receipts are causing quite a stir online after a diner's photo circulated on social media.

From the outside, Kiwiana looks like any other quaint and cozy restaurant -- but the owners have a message for their customers.

“Immigrants make America great (they also cooked your food and served you today)," reads the bottom of the receipts.

The bold political move by “Top Chef” alum Mark Simmons, the chef and owner of Kiwiana, didn’t go unnoticed for long.

"It's basically a silent protest," Simmons told WPIX-TV.

Mary Emily O'Hara tweeted a picture of her receipt from Sunday brunch, and got more than 186,000 likes and 68,000 retweets and climbing.

Simmons emigrated from New Zealand 10 years ago and opened the restaurant in 2011. He said his receipt messages aren't usually this political, but he said he had to respond to President Donald Trump's executive order.

The order bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria. The order is being challenged in courts.

"I think about the families being torn apart," Simmons said. "Put yourself in their position, it would break me up."

In the kitchen and out front, employees represent at least six countries including Russia, China, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

When 17-year-old Kelvin Pichardo was hired, he said Simmons told him they were all from different countries but were one family.

"We got people from around the world," Pichardo said. "We don't have a special race here."

Customers and passersby appear to have no issues with the pro-immigrant receipt.

"My thoughts are that is fine and well," Michelle Taylor told WPIX. "He wanted people to know the people who work here are immigrants. He just wanted to tell the world. I am sure they don't find that to be a problem."

Added customer Jen Bonczar: "We shouldn't be throwing people out, we should be welcoming them."

When asked how long the receipts will continue to have this pro-immigrant message, Simmons replied, "For as long as it takes."

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