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Embattled SF District Attorney Accuses Firm of Targeting Restaurants With ‘Abusive’ Lawsuits

Plus, mounting allegations of spiked drinks at a wine country bar and more Bay Area food news

Pedestrians walk along Grant Avenue on March 08, 2021 in the Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco, California. 
Pedestrians walk along Grant Avenue on March 08, 2021 in the Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco, California. 
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has accused a southern California law firm of targeting small businesses — including immigrant-owned restaurants in Chinatown — with “abusive” lawsuits in a suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón joined in the filing, which accuses San Diego-based firm Potter Handy of flooding the court system with thousands of disabilities-rights lawsuits, many of which are fraudulent, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. For example, the Chronicle spoke to the owner of Hon’s Wun-Tun House in Chinatown, which Potter Handy accused of serving food at tables that were too low for wheelchair users, during a time when the restaurant was only offering takeout due to the pandemic.

In the suit, Boudin and Gascón ask a judge to stop Potter Handy from filing any more of the lawsuits and force the firm to pay back the money gained from the practice, which the district attorneys estimate amounts to millions of dollars. In a response to the allegations, a spokesperson for Potter Handy told the Chronicle the lawsuit is politically motivated since both Boudin and Gascón face uncertain political futures. An election to recall Boudin will be held on June 7; a campaign to force a recall against Gascón is also underway.

North Bay bar faces mounting allegations of drugged drinks

About a week after a woman came forward with allegations of being drugged at Healdsburg bar Duke’s Spirited Cocktails, local police say they’ve now received at least nine additional reports of similar instances since October of this year. The Chronicle spoke to several women who say their drinks were spiked at the bar, causing symptoms including vomiting, loss of memory, and loss of muscle control. Police say there have been no reports of alleged sexual misconduct related to the alleged druggings. There are also no suspects or concrete evidence to prove recurring incidents of spiked drinks are happening at the bar.

Oakland’s Stork Club is coming back and it’ll be more trashy than ever

Berkeleyside reports a trio of experienced bar and music industry vets have taken over the former Stork Club space with plans to open a totally new bar called...Thee Stork Club. They’ve got a simultaneously extremely specific and somewhat confusing vision for the space, describing it as “grandma’s whorehouse,” “part ‘proto fern bar,’ part ‘1970s dive bar,’” and promised it’ll be inspired in part by the famously over-the-top Madonna Inn. On the menu look forward to “trash” cocktails — the kind that give customers “a sugary intense hangover.”

Dunkin’ to debut directly across the street from mom-and-pop donut shop

Family-owned and operated shop Baker’s Donuts has been serving breakfast in Sacramento for nearly four decades and is now bracing for some serious competition, the Bee reports. A Dunkin’ franchise is set to open directly across the street.

Former French Laundry executive sous chef plans debut restaurant

Elliot Bell, a volunteer firefighter who worked with star chef Thomas Keller as executive sous chef at the French Laundry for nearly a decade, has plans to open his debut restaurant in the former Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen space later this year, the North Bay Business Journal reports. It’ll be a casual family-oriented restaurant called Charlie’s, after the chef’s son.