PILSEN — The owner of a popular Pilsen restaurant was accused of brutally attacking an employee in his restaurant Wednesday.
Danny Gutierrez Jr., the owner of Cantón Regio and son of shuttered Nuevo Leon‘s longtime owner, is being accused of beating up employee Guadalupe Vera in the restaurant Wednesday night.
The alleged attack happened Wednesday night at the restaurant, 1510 W. 18th St. Vera was beaten up by a man who is about 40-45 years old, Chicago Police said. Vera, 44, said that man is Gutierrez Jr.
Vera refused medical attention and was given information on how to obtain a warrant for the alleged attacker’s arrest, police said.
A manager who answered the phone at Cantón Regio Thursday said that Gutierrez Jr. was not at the restaurant. She declined to answer questions about the alleged attack.
“I can’t comment right now,” she said.
Gutierrez Jr. did not answer calls Thursday. When reached via text message, he did not immediately answer questions.
Vera’s stepdaughter, Gabriela Nieves, posted on Facebook about the alleged attack Thursday, asking friends to share the post far and wide. As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the post had been shared more than 5,500 times.
Vera has worked for Cantón Regio since it opened and worked at Nuevo Leon before it burned down for about a decade, Nieves said. He lives in Little Village and is an immigrant, she said.
“Apparently the dude was already mad and he decided to pick on a guy smaller than him,” Nieves writes. “He threw him to the ground and started hitting him. He is known for treating his employees like s—, and because he’s an immigrant he knows they’ll be too scared to press charges.”
The attack began when Gutierrez Jr. arrived at the restaurant at about 9 or 10 p.m. and saw beer bottles or cans in a kitchen area of the restaurant, Nieves said. Gutierrez Jr. asked who the beer belonged to, and Nieves denied the beer belonged to him.
“He told him, ‘I don’t know. It’s not mine, it’s not mine,’” Nieves said.
Gutierrez Jr. then asked Vera, whose shift had ended, to meet him in the basement, Nieves said.
Once in the basement, Gutierrez Jr. grabbed and hit Vera several times, Nieves said. The owner then told him to grab his belongings and leave the restaurant.
Nieves said she wrote the Facebook post to warn other immigrant workers.
“He needs to be held accountable. We don’t want any money, we just want him to know that people are not going to stand for his abusive ways just because they are scared or are immigrants,” Nieves said.
Longtime Ald. Danny Solis (25th), whose father was close to Danny Gutierrez Jr.’s father, Danny Gutierrez Sr., said his office has learned that there is video of the incident. The Solis family and Gutierrez family are both from the Nuevo Leon state of Mexico.
“The [allegations] do shock me,” Solis said. “I don’t think there’s any reason for that.”
Nieves said there are cameras in the basement where the alleged attack happened. Her family is trying to get a copy of the surveillance video, she said.
On Thursday, dozens of people left 1-star reviews on the Cantón Regio Facebook page, referencing the alleged attack.
“My family and I were planning to visit this restaurant… After the abuse that we read that the owner made to one of his employees, we decide that we need to take our $$ to another place,” one woman wrote.