Closure of popular Mexican restaurant catches customers off guard

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OLATHE, Kan. -- A popular Olathe Mexican restaurant has been closed, and while the reasons are unclear, it could be because of a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide documentation that its workers are legal.

A worker told FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien that K-Macho’s is closed because its insurance company is making them re-do the floors because they are slippery.

However, a woman who does not want to be identified told FOX 4 that K-Macho’s was abruptly closed after an immigration raid.

When O'Brien called the Department of Homeland Security, a spokesperson said they have no comment due to an ongoing investigation.

The signs on the restaurant’s doors offer apologies for any inconvenience, reading: “This location is currently closed due to renovations, we will be open soon.” The sign directs customers to the location in Overland Park, which is where FOX 4 went to try and find owner Armando Romero.

The host at the K-Macho’s told O'Brien Romero was not there, and the manager quickly came to the front to see what was going on.

The manager would not provide Romero's phone number, and said all of the rumors about illegal workers are false, also saying that the person who started the rumors has, "been taken care of."

Although there were people at Romero’s Overland Park residence, no one answered the door.

While the Department of Homeland Security is not commenting on the investigation, a spokesperson for the agency, Shawn Neudauer, sent the following statement:

“K Macho restaurant in Olathe, Kansas, was recently served, via U.S. Mail, an official notice to submit all form I-9 documentation to HSI auditors for inspection. At no time did federal authorities enter the business, make any arrests or ask the business be closed.”

While immigration agents did not bust in the restaurant, it is what they call a desktop raid when Homeland Security Investigations requests this type of documentation.

Every U.S. employer is required to have an I-9 employee verification form for every person who works there, proving their legal status.

While the government does not shut down the business, an immigration expert, who is not involved with this case, told FOX 4 often after this type of request, people scatter and there are not enough employees left to keep the business open, so many temporarily close.

There have been no charges filed against Romero or anyone associated with K-Macho’s. At this point, it is just an investigation.

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