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Hide Your Bread Trays: Two Bay Area Bakeries Are Going to Court Over Shipping Crates

Plus, a grocery store lands in the Bayview and more Bay Area food intel

A stack of plastic trays holding bread is seen inside a grocery store.
These aren’t the exact bread crates in question, but close: A bakery filed a lawsuit against another business over stolen plastic bread trays.
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Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

In perhaps one of the most unexpected food-related lawsuits seen lately, it seems that two rival bread companies are embroiled in a lawsuit over…plastic bread trays. Yes, those stacking, plastic trays used to move and ship bread back and forth between bakeries and grocery stores is the center of a lawsuit Fresno-based Athens Baking Company filed against Pacific Coast Baking.

It seems that Athens Baking Company believes the South San Francisco bakery is participating in the “ongoing, systematic theft of hundreds of bread trays … enough to fill a semitrailer,” the Mercury News reports. The lawsuit includes photographic evidence, showing a Pacific Coast loading dock with trays from Athens; the company says Pacific Coast is stealing the trays to “cut costs, and to boost expenses for Athens and gain a competitive advantage,” according to the paper.

Pacific Coast owner Bill Esposto says missing trays are just part of the bakery game when so many different bakeries deliver to the same places; in fact, he’s missing crates too. Whatever the case is, Athens is suing Pacific Coast for $45,000 in damages and wants to prevent Esposto and his company from “trafficking in the bread trays that have been stolen.” Esposto plans to fight the lawsuit.

The British (pies) are coming

Anglophiles will be chuffed to hear the news that Willow on the Green is looking to open a “pie and mash shop” near its Inner Sunset store, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A GoFundMe is set at $50,000 to get the pies, scotch eggs, and British breakfasts rolling.

Le Bateau Ivre in Berkeley on pause

Berkeleyside caught the news that 50-year-old Berkeley restaurant Le Bateau Ivre will be temporarily closed through “at least” the end of the year as chef Paul Parada undergoes surgery and recovery time. Godspeed.

The grocery deities giveth, and they taketh away

The Bayview neighborhood saw the debut of long-awaited — and much-needed — grocery store, Lucky, which opened Wednesday. The neighborhood, which has been designated as a food desert, has been sorely needing a shopping option. A Walgreen’s there closed in 2019, the San Francisco Standard reports, and was briefly considered for being the site of a cannabis dispensary before neighborhood activists shut down that idea. The news outlet captured the opening scene, as residents excitedly checked out the 9,500-square-foot store. Meanwhile, across the Bay, Berkeleyside reports the 99 Cents Only Store on San Pablo Avenue near University will close on November 30 to make way for a proposed “seven-story mixed-use complex” with 270 homes and 15 percent affordable units.

Something’s brewing in Union City … we’re just not quite sure what

Both the Internal Revenue Service and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau paid a visit to the Union City office of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Wednesday, “engaged in official activity,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. No one from the agency or the business would comment on just what that activity entailed, but it’s worth noting, given that the Southern Glazer is considered to be the largest liquor wholesaler in the country. Stay tuned, I guess.