Welcome to p.m. Intel, your lunchtime (or so) roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news from publications near and far. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
- It’s up to city and county officials to implement California Retail Food Code AB-626, which allows “microenterprise home kitchen operations” to make and sell prepared foods. The law is two years old, but regional jurisdictions have been slow to move on it — at present, only Riverside County has made the leap, though San Mateo, Solano, Santa Barbara, and Imperial counties, as well as the city of Berkeley, have all expressed interest. That means when you read about a Bay Area pop-up from, say, laid off chefs who started selling food made in their apartment, you’re reading about people who are breaking the law...but in these troubled times, who has the heart to start going after those little operations that are just trying to get by? The answer to that question is “Alameda County,” the SF Chronicle reports, as it shut down chef Mona Leena Michael’s flatbread hustle. The County has refused comment, but Michael is speaking out, asking how anyone “can look down the street and see someone selling food to make a living and have a problem with that.”
- The SF Business Times, a vocal opponent of San Francisco’s efforts to regulate the proliferation of chain restaurants and stores across the city, says that vacancies along Hayes Street mean that more “formula retail” (as the city classifies companies like McDonald’s, Applebees, and Pizza Hut) should be allowed on that local(ish) street. “There’s not enough mom-and-pops with capital who are calling right now,” says Pam Mendelsohn, a partner at real estate firm Maven Commercial, regarding empty storefronts on the stretch. Supervisor Dean Preston. whose District 5 covers Hayes Valley, isn’t convinced, saying “I don’t think we should be transforming the character of neighborhoods that work so hard to be corridors for mom-and-pop businesses and allow them to be open to chain stores.”
- Even if Santa Clara County is cleared to reopen indoor dining, it won’t allow restaurants to reopen quite yet. “Being in a congregation or a theater or a sports venue or in a restaurant gathering is a very risky behavior.” County CEO Jeff Smith tells the Bay Area News Group.
- Alex Vergara, a server and bartender at the Mission District location of Tacolicious, tells Mission Local that “telling drunk people to wear their masks isn’t always easy,” but by-and-large, diners “have been happy to stick by the rules, grateful to be out in the world.”
- The SF Chronicle has pulled together a safety checklist for Bay Area outdoor dining that’s pretty much common sense — but handy to send as a link to those who are suggesting, perhaps, that you meet them at a less distanced-and-masked spot.
- Bay Area barbecue guy Jim Modesitt is feeding NorCal firefighters hundreds of meals, backed by actor Gary “Lt. Dan” Sinise’s charitable foundation. [KPIX]
- Emeryville catering company Fare Resources has donated 38,000 meals to East Bay groups in need. [Berkeleyside]