Donald Trump's war on tacos has claimed a Portland victim.
The Angel Food and Fun Yucatecan-style Mexican restaurant that Portlanders know and love is gone. Chef Manuel Lopez was denied a visa extension, according to the restaurant's new staff.
Word first traveled via the Nextdoor app and a Facebook post by former Clyde Common chef Carlo Lamagna.
Calls to the restaurant confirmed that Angel Food and Fun is under new management as of three or four days ago, with an entirely new kitchen staff, and that a visa issue was to blame. At the time, staff believed ownership had also changed. We have so far been unable to reach Lopez or owner Tai Nguyen for comment, but will fill in new information as it becomes available.
Update 9:12 am: According to an interview with restaurant owner Tai Nguyen in the Oregonian, Lopez was told by authorities that he needed to leave the country by the fifth or sixth of the month, and that it was unclear when or if Lopez would be able to return to his family and his restaurant.
With Yucatecan-born Lopez—a former sous chef at fine-dining spot Bluehour— in the kitchen, the tiny cash-only game and counter-service spot was consistently one of the best Mexican restaurants in Portland, with great menudo and frijole en puerco soups, and a brightly citric cochinita pibil we counted as one of our favorites anywhere near Portland.
The restaurant has been pared down to a minimal menu, and the decor has reportedly been likewise stripped. Staff at the restaurant says they'll try to add more menu items as it becomes possible.
This is not the first time the Trump administration's hard-line visa policies have damaged Portland restaurants. Restaurateur Earl Ninsom told food blog Eater that he delayed the opening of a second location of his delicious Hat Yai restaurant after the administration tightened rules on E-2 immigration visas.
But for now, R.I.P. Angel Food and Fun. The food was always the fun, and both are leaving with chef Manuel Lopez.