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NorCal Restaurant Owner Dies of COVID-19 Complications

Also: A confrontation over masks at a local Safeway, and more news to know today

Esteban Gonzalez, the owner of Esteban’s Mexican Food, reportedly died this month of complications from COVID-19

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Esteban Gonzalez, the 55-year-old owner of popular Humboldt County restaurant Esteban’s Mexican Food, died this month of complications of COVID-19, the Mad River Union reports. In a 2015 interview with Jefferson Public Radio, Gonzalez said that he was in born in Mexico City, and moved to Humboldt County with a plan to eventually “become financially independent, get citizenship, and bring his wife and children over from Mexico.” Working as a dishwasher at Eel River Brewing, he pulled together enough money to make a downpayment on a taco truck, and in 2013, he opened a permanent location in Arcata. According to the Left Coast Outpost, “Esteban’s developed a fiercely loyal following, devoted as much to Gonzalez’s friendly face and positive attitude as to his mammoth burritos, which came stuffed with a unique blend of whole and refried beans wrapped in a spongy, homemade flour tortilla.”
  • Caleb Zigas, the executive director of San Francisco food business incubator La Cocina, says that he hopes the company won’t always be around, as “a metric for success would be a time when people say La Cocina is unnecessary — when you render yourself obsolete because you’ve changed the principles with which we run an economy like this.” [SF Business Times]
  • New Downtown Berkeley boba shop One Plus also serves Beijing-style jianbing, the Northern Chinese breakfast street food made with savory crepes and scrambled eggs. [Berkeleyside]
  • Before you make your next grocery delivery order, you might want to note that SF-based Instacart is firing every employee who voted to unionize, laying off “nearly 2,000 of the company’s 10,000 grocery store workers.” [The Verge]
  • A court in San Francisco has ruled that a lawsuit against reviews website Yelp — which, of all the reasons to sue Yelp, is over their practice of recording telephone calls — can move forward. [SF Chronicle]
  • A maskless shopper at a Daly City Safeway allegedly cut in line, then coughed on a worker when asked to don a face covering and wait her turn. [KPIX]
  • These East Bay spots are promising fresh local Dungeness on their menus — at least, as long as the limited supplies last. [Berkeleyside]
  • The former manager of “several” Bay Area Chipotle locations was arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a prospective employee. [ABC 7]
  • San Jose high school student Shrobana Sengupta’s pandemic-launched macaron business has generated thousands for charities. [Hoodline]