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Grocery Chain Smart & Final To Pay Thousands in Fines For Price Gouging During Early Days of Pandemic

Plus, Barrio North Beach trades tacos for tortas and more Bay Area food intel

A carton of brown eggs. Shutterstock

Grocery chain Smart & Final has agreed to pay thousands of dollars in penalties to resolve allegations the company illegally increased prices on eggs during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Tuesday his office reached a settlement with the California-based company, per an AP report. During an investigation Bonta’s office found Smart & Final sold more than 100,000 cartons of eggs marked up by more than 10 percent between March 4, 2020 and June 22, 2020. Due to the state of emergency Governor Gavin Newsom declared on March 4, California companies were banned at that time from selling “food and other necessities” at prices more than 10 percent above pre-pandemic levels, the Los Angeles Times explains.

While the eggs in question were of the organic and cage-free variety — what would be considered premium products — Bonta pointed out the price increases went into effect when grocery shelves were often bare, leaving customers with little choice between products. Customers tipped off the Attorney General about the price increases, Bonta said, resulting in the company’s agreement to pay $175,000 in fees related to state unfair competition law. In a statement, Smart & Final said the price increases were unintentional and due to supplier price increases, the LA Times reports. “We want our valued customers to know that price gouging has no place in our stores,” the statement reads in part. “We will continue to review our pricing to ensure it remains compliant.”

Barrio North Beach is now a torta shop

Almost a year after expanding with a second location at Ghirardelli Square, the original Barrio North Beach will swap its signature tacos served on blue corn tortillas for a menu built around tortas. The Mexican sandwiches range from classic options like cochinita pibil to more modern interpretations like a fried chicken variety and beef birria cheesesteak. View the full new menu here.

Filipino American pop-up Barya Kitchen graduates to a food truck

Barya Kitchen, a Filipino food pop-up known for fusion creations like longganisa sandwich on a lime green pandan bun, is celebrating the grand opening of its new food truck with two parties. Enjoy chicken adobo siopao and crunchy turon April 8 at the Westfield Oakridge (925 Blossom Hill Road in San Jose) from 5-8:30pm and April 15 at Spark Social (601 Mission Bay Boulevard North in San Francisco) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

There’s a massive restaurant and brewery space available in the Mission

The owners of Lupulandia Brewing, the Tijuana-inspired brewery located at 2243 Mission Street, are looking for someone to take over their lease, the San Francisco Business Times reports. It’s a 7,000-square-foot fully-licensed brewery with the potential to add a rooftop space, a rarity in the heart of San Francisco.

GoPuff cancels plans for Inner Richmond brick-and-mortar

GoPuff, the delivery giant allied with Uber, is backing off its plans to open a brick-and-mortar store in the Inner Richmond. Last year the company said it would take over the former Pier 1 Imports space on Stanyan to debut its first physical store in San Francisco; now San Francisco Business Times reports the company is giving up the lease on the building.

San Francisco chefs rally to raise money for Ukraine

Chefs from some of the Bay Area’s highest profile restaurants, bars, and bakeries including David Barzelay (Lazy Bear), Monique Feybesse (Tarts de Feybesse), Emily Lim (Dabao Singapore), Vincent Bugtong (Viridian), Emma Horowitz (SingleThread Farms), and Deuki Hong (The Sunday Group) will come together for a fundraiser dinner on Tuesday, April 12 at Nari. The 10-course wine-paired dinner costs $750 per person and must be pre-purchased on OpenTable. All profits will got to support World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsForUkraine efforts.

Wahpehpah’s Kitchen unveils Indigenous food warriors mural

James Beard Award nominated chef Crystal Wahpepah is ready to unveil the completed mural at her eponymous Fruitvale restaurant. Here’s a first look:

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