The sudden closure of Saint Agnes Baking Company in St. Paul left Twin Cities restaurants in the lurch.
According to one report, the wholesale bakery closed not out of financial mismanagement or on an owner's whim. The bakery had become aware Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was planning to audit the bakery "as well as its employees" -- 10 of whom promptly quit out of fear, according to WCCO.
The TV station got that information from Tim Mahoney, owner of the Loon Cafe in downtown Minneapolis, whose restaurant bought all of its breads from Saint Agnes. Mahoney said the employees affected had been in the Twin Cities for "10, 15 years," and are "established in the community," adding: "Who is calling these shots? I thought we were a sanctuary city."
Indeed, newly elected mayors Melvin Carter (St. Paul) and Jacob Frey (Minneapolis) both campaigned on keeping the Twin Cities as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. But that edict extends only to city cops; last year, ICE executed raids that swept up 26 people across Minnesota, including in Minneapolis, despite then-mayor Betsy Hodges' pledge of sanctuary.
An ICE spokesman told WCCO the agency "did not shut down the bakery and did not make any arrests there," thereby denying something no one had accused ICE of doing.
Saint Agnes, located in the Payne Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul, has declined to say on the record why it's going out of business. The bakery was open on Thursday, but is set to cease baking over the weekend.
Among the restaurants it sold to were Bull's Horn, the reimagined south Minneapolis dive bar, whose chef/owner Doug Flicker said he was "devastated" to learn of Saint Agnes' impending closure.
"We love their product," Flicker told the Star Tribune. "They are a central part of what we do."
Local celeb chef Andrew Zimmern also used Saint Agnes goods at his Canteen Rotisserie restaurant inside U.S. Bank Stadium. In a statement, Zimmern said he was "not concerned about us finding a replacement" for Saint Agnes before the February 4 Super Bowl.
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