Closed since early March, La Taqueria will reopen next week
La Taqueria, the Mission District burrito spot that took the top slot in FiveThirtyEight’s intensive burrito bracket and was named an “America’s Classic” by the James Beard Foundation in 2017, was one of the first San Francisco restaurants to close its doors when the coronavirus crisis began, going dark as of March 15. Fans that miss La Taq’s dense, riceless have gone hungry ever since, but that ends next week: The restaurant announced via Instagram Thursday night that takeout will resume next Wednesday.
Unlike some local spots that have eschewed cash during the pandemic, La Taq prefers it, telling an Instagram commenter that inquired about a price uptick “we would never raise our prices on anyone in times like this even if we need to,” but that they will charge a “3.50 transaction fee for cards.” (According to owner Miguel Jara, his burritos already cost more to make than those at other establishments, as La Taq’s are prepared without rice, “so I have to put in more meat.”)
Speaking with the SF Chronicle, Jara says that he’d planned to continue to pay his staff — but remain closed — for the rest of 2020, but “over the last few weeks more of his employees have been encouraging him to reopen.” Things haven’t always been so convivial between Jara and his workers, as in 2018, San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement and the California Labor Commissioner demanded that the restaurant pay $600,000 in fines, mostly for mostly for unpaid overtime, sick leave, and health care costs.
Those issued presumably ironed out, Jara now tells the Chron that he closed La Taqueria because he worried that his employees “would end up getting sick somehow,” but “now, we’ve had time to put things in place for safety,” and business can resume as of May 27.
And in other news...
- Over 12,000 small-business owners across the country are formally asking the U.S. Congress for more stimulus funds, including a multitude of East Bay restaurant owners. [East Bay Express]
- Whiz Burger, the Mission District walk-up joint that counts Spruce chef Mark Sullivan as one of its ardent fans, gets a he said/he said treatment that takes on its health score (“an uninspiring 83”), its patty (“dry, dry, dry”), and artist/Whiz fan Jeremy Fish (“a slumming hipster” and a “tourist”). Angry cat howl goes here! [Mission Local]
- Wine-centric New American spot the Morris has temporarily closed after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. They expect to resume takeout and delivery service next week. [The Morris/Instagram]
- While much of the alleged evidence in the fraud case against Lefty O’Douls and Gold Dust Lounge owner Nick Bovis remains sealed, financial records from San Francisco’s Department of Public Works reportedly suggest that Bovis and his organization, the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids, was paid $25K from a questionable, off-the-books $1 million fund. [NBC Bay Area]
- 9 Julio, an East Bay empanada company, is gearing up to launch its first restaurant in Oakland. [Hoodline]
- Yesterday’s frozen cookie dough giveaway at Specialty’s Redwood City warehouse was wild! KPIX reports that the event created “bumper-to-bumper traffic” near the site, and reader Veronica S. sent photos of the reportedly 400-person-long line.