Potential tariffs on Mexican goods could pose issue for local restaurants
President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, if the country doesn't agree to slow down the flow of illegal immigrants.
Tariffs could mean price increases for local businesses like restaurants that rely on the country's imports.
Poblanos Mexican Cuisine on Chattanooga's Northshore has only been in business for about nine months, but restaurant owner Adrian De La Torre says he's been cooking for most of his life.
"I've been doing this since I was, well, I grew up watching my grandmothers cook, my mother, my dad, in Mexico," De La Torre told Channel 3.
He says owning his own restaurant is his livelihood.
"I work 90-100 hours a week. I'm here from open to close every single day. We close on Monday's but I'm here on Monday's too," he explained.
As a native of the country, giving customers an authentic Mexican experience is a priority from the food to the decor inside the restaurant.
"The tomatoes, the jalapenos, cilantro, poblano peppers, everything (is) fresh, straight from Mexico," De La Torre said. "My art, my pottery, everything comes straight from Mexico. I believe I'm one of the most authentic places in Chattanooga."
He says tariffs being placed on Mexican goods coming into the US would be bad business for his restaurant and others in town.
"It would affect everybody (and) that includes me. If the prices go up, then I have to bring my prices up because if not, I would lose money," he explained.
Bell peppers, avocado, tomatoes, and jalapenos are just a few of the items on the list of imports from Mexico.
"You have to have them. You cannot have a Mexican restaurant for chips, guacamole or chips and salsa," the owner said.
He told Channel 3 he spends up to $2,000 a week on ingredients alone. Having to pay more would hinder future plans to expand.
"I planned on expanding, but if something happens to the industry that could be the end of it," he said.
If tariffs go into effect, De La Torre says he may have to begin charging customers for things he normally offers at no cost like salsa and guacamole.
Tequila, Mexican beers, car parts used by Chevy and Ford, electrical machinery and crude oils are also all imported from Mexico.
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