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Employees of a Popular Castro Bakery Accuse Owners of Sexual Assault and Use of N-Word

Also: Saul’s Deli is the newest Bay Area bagel contender, and more news to start your day

Exterior of the Castro bakery Hot Cookie, with the sign lit up at night Hot Cookie/Facebook

Employees at a popular Castro District bakery allege that one co-owner used “racially discriminatory speech” and allege another sexually assaulted multiple employees

On Wednesday, workers at Hot Cookie, a bakery in the Castro known for its penis-shaped cookies, took to Instagram to accuse their employers of a pattern of harassment and racial discrimination, the SF Chronicle reports. The social media post — which quickly went viral on Instagram — alleges that one of the bakery’s co-owners, Paul Perreta, “uses racially discriminatory speech and the hard n-word,” while another, Tony Roug, “sexually assaulted multiple employees.” The post calls for a boycott of the business until Hot Cookie management addresses the employees’ concerns, including hiring a third-party HR facilitator.

Speaking to the Chron, Roug did not address the substance of the allegations, but said, “We certainly want to create an environment free of sexual assault and racial discrimination” — and says that the company is launching an investigation into the claims.

The Hot Cookie accusations are the latest example of the numerous social and racial justice reckonings that have taken place in the food industry over the past couple of months — often a result of former and current workers voicing their concerns on social media. Here in the Bay Area, the boba tea chain Boba Guys and artisanal chocolate-maker Dandelion Chocolates are just two of the prominent local brands that have faced a backlash after workers called them out with allegations of systemic racism.

And in other news...

  • After Wednesday’s abrupt shutdown of indoor service for all of the shops and food kiosks inside the building, the Ferry Building reversed course just a day later: The food hall is once again fully open for business, with all of its previous COVID-19 safety protocols in place, as the state once again changed the building’s classification — from an indoor mall (which wouldn’t be allowed to open) to a transit terminal. KQED notes that, if this hadn’t worked out, the farmers market outside the building was prepared to host those indoor Ferry Building shops, basically turning them into outdoor pop-ups. [KQED]
  • Over at the Chronicle, food writer (and former Eater SF critic) Rachel Levin has a sweet profile of a couple that fell in love at Sol Food, the beloved San Rafael Puerto Rican mainstay — part of an ongoing series on restaurant regulars. [SFC]
  • California breweries are apparently dealing with an unprecedented aluminum can shortage, as one of the pandemic’s effects has been to render the classic beer snob prejudice against canned beer largely irrelevant: Now, with bars and taprooms shut down, more or less everyone is buying their beer to go, in a bottle or can, instead of getting it poured from a keg. [East Bay Times]
  • Castro Valley now has a massive, 39,000-square-foot food hall — home, for now, to a grocery store, a bakery, and an outpost of Baron’s Quality Meats & Seafood, with a slew of additional restaurants and retail shops to come. [SFC]
  • The latest update to the Bay Area bagel wars: In Berkeley, Saul’s Deli is now boiling and baking its own bagels (and bialys!) in-house, and they are reportedly quite good, and served still warm to boot. The bagels can be ordered online, and a walkup bagel window is in the works. [Berkeleyside]

Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen

1475 Shattuck Avenue, , CA 94709 (510) 848-3354 Visit Website

Hot Cookie

407 Castro Street, , CA 94114 (415) 621-2350 Visit Website