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Bay Area Business Featured on ‘Bar Rescue’ Was Involved in DEA Drug Smuggling Sting

Plus, two Palo Alto restaurants were part of window smashing spree and more food news

A glass with liquor in it on a bar. Shutterstock
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

As reported by the Mercury News, Bay Area business owner Lemack “Lee” Bellot, who owns the Fogline Sports Bar and Grill in Hayward, has been indicted in federal court for his involvement in a drug-smuggling ring that relied upon corrupt airline employees. Bellot, whose bar gained notoriety when it was featured on reality TV show Bar Rescue, allegedly told a confidential Drug Enforcement Agency informant about his ability to smuggle narcotics across state lines, the Mercury News reports.

Though Bellot and others involved with the crimes were charged back in 2019, the new information about Bellot’s involvement in the drug smuggling ring became public through recently filed court documents. Per the new documents, in 2018 Bellot allegedly had a DEA informant check luggage at San Francisco International airport that was never screened. Prosecutors allege Bellot met several times with the DEA informant at his Fogline Sports Bar and Grill. Bellot’s case will convene at the end of the month, and initial motions show the defense intend to argue the DEA entrapped Bellot.

Oakland restaurateur found in coma outside NFC playoff game

The Los Angeles Times reports that Daniel Luna, owner of Mistura on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, was found beaten in the parking lot of SoFi Stadium on January 30; according to police, Luna was placed into a medically-induced coma following the incident. Luna grew up in the Bay Area and is an avid 49ers fan, according to his wife and friends. He was found wearing a 49ers jersey outside SoFi Stadium about a half-hour into the game against the Rams.

Downtown Palo Alto restaurants among vandalized businesses

Early Monday morning, a vandal smashed the windows of a dozen businesses including restaurants in downtown Palo Alto, causing damages in excess of $100,000. As first reported by Palo Alto Weekly, a man allegedly smashed the windows of 12 businesses in a three-block area within University and Lytton avenues between Bryant and Cowper streets. SlideBar and Yayoi were the two food and drink businesses impacted by the destruction.

Outer Richmond’s Lokma opens sister restaurant today

Clement Street restaurant Mediterranean restaurant Lokma, known for its Turkish breakfast, told its fans on February 2 via Instagram to check out its sister restaurant Taksim, opening on February 3. The new restaurant is located at ​​564 4th Street just a few blocks from Oracle Park.

Turner’s Kitchen moves to weekday only

Turner’s Kitchen, the pro-gluten sandwich shop owned by former Zuni chef Ken Turner, let its fans know the restaurant has served its last weekend hoagie. The business has reduced its days of service to Monday through Friday to focus on the wellbeing of Turner and the staff. “Having consecutive days off and especially weekends are life changers,” the shop’s post on Instagram reads.

Little Jane brings to-go croissants and coffee to Chinatown

Jane the Bakery owner Amanda Michael is bringing a micro version of her popular business to Grant Avenue in the former Dragon Papa space. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the business is entirely to-go, featuring favorites like pineapple kouign amann, persimmon puff pastries, and tiger-shaped cookies in honor of the new year.

Starline Social Club employees blindsided by co-op plans

Not all workers’ communes can be as well-oiled as that of Arizmendi Bakery. SFGate reports that while favorite Oakland venue Starline Social Club says it will reopen as an employee-owned business, its own employees had no idea about the pivot. “How can you have a co-op without speaking to the staff that would be part of that co-op? The intentions did not seem genuine whatsoever,” Tayler Sampson, a former bar manager, told SFGate.