May 26, 2023 - News

Utah restaurateurs wage food fight for abortion access

Illustration of a caduceus wearing a chef hap.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A coalition of Salt Lake City restaurants and food vendors is joining a food fight to support reproductive rights in conservative Utah.

What's happening: 25 food businesses will gather for an upcoming fundraiser, serving small plates, libations, set to live music and a silent auction on June 11 at Publik Coffee Roasters in SLC.

By the numbers: All proceeds go toward Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the Utah Abortion Fund, event organizer Evan Francois said. The goal is to raise $100,000.

  • The Utah Abortion Fund provides financial support to help women access safe abortions.

Context: Francois, who owns a catering company, conceptualized the idea last year to organize local food vendors amid Utah's growing efforts to prohibit abortion access across the state.

  • "So many people were angry and frustrated that everyone wanted … to do their part," he told Axios, adding the event attracted about 700 people in its inaugural year.

The big picture: 63% of entry-level restaurant employees in the U.S. identify as women and nearly 70% are in mid-level positions, according to a National Restaurant Association survey released last August.

Catch up quick: Utah's abortion trigger law went into effect last year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The latest: Francois expects about 1,000 attendees for this year's fundraiser.

What they're saying: Publik owner Missy Greis told Axios she was "devastated" after Roe v. Wade was overturned. After Francois approached her, she volunteered her space for the fundraiser.

  • She said all vendors are donating their time and resources and won't pocket any funds raised.
  • "They all care. It has been easy to get people to sign on and come together," she said.

The other side: Francois said the previous fundraiser did not draw protesters, and they aren't expecting demonstrators this year.

  • He noted there will be security on site as a precautionary measure.

Details: Some of the restaurants participating in this year's event include: The Pearl, Urban Hill, Takashi and Central 9th Market.

  • Tickets are $25 per person for the all-ages event.

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