Fast-casual Mexican food chain Felipe’s posted on Facebook this week that its Uptown location was broken into overnight. The news was accompanied by a message admonishing the entire city of New Orleans to “be better.”
The restaurant’s “enthusiastic” team discovered the break-in Tuesday morning, a day that happened to be National Taco Day, according to the Facebook post, which outlined the damage at the “completely vandalized” restaurant, like a broken door. It also described stolen bottles of tequila, point of sales systems, and a television, which Felipe’s executive Pike Howard values at around $2,500 total, according to WGNO.
“Violated,” the Facebook post begins. The company has been rebuilding its team in Southwest Florida, owners wrote, “and now we have to clean up this mess.” Felipe’s, which was founded by Tom Brush and Felipe Herrera in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before expanding primarily in the New Orleans area, opened up shop in Florida about five years ago and now has a total of three restaurants in North Naples. “Be better New Orleans,” ends the post.
The company’s longtime head of human resources, Lon Nichols, told WWL that the break-in didn’t stop the restaurant from opening on time on what it says is one of its busiest days, saying workers “didn’t skip a beat.” He also expressed general outrage, saying “It’s out of control what’s going on right now in the city.”
It’s a familiar refrain, one that most recently played out when Starbucks closed a downtown New Orleans location for a host of reasons including “challenges to personal safety and security.” A few months before that, owners claimed closing Portside Lounge was due to a “recent spike in crime” in the city.
Felipe’s Uptown remains open. A spokesperson tells WWL that “the restaurant is still helping workers in Florida,” but also notes that it was employees in New Orleans who created an Amazon Wishlist list to help Florida employees.