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San Francisco Boba Shop Was Allegedly a Front for an International Criminal Operation

Plus, the new corporate overlords at Save Mart are taking away some retired employees’ health benefits and more food news

A hand holds a plastic cup with a boba drink. Shutterstock
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Following an extensive year-long investigation, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has accused the husband of a Tenderloin boba shop owner with running an international fencing operation out of the small drink cafe. The San Francisco Chronicle reports officials suspect Quoc Le, whose wife owns the Quickly bubble tea cafe on Larkin Street, was involved in an auto-theft ring; the investigation has led to the recovery of “more than 1,000 laptops, phones, cameras and other devices,” which officials say are valued at more than $100,000.

Over a period of months, investigators used GPS trackers and bait vehicles parked around the city to witness Le receiving what they suspect were stolen goods and then shipping them to other countries including China and Vietnam. According to the Chronicle, investigators surveilling the boba shop watched “multiple people enter the Quickly tea shop — at least one with a laptop visible — and exit without the devices or food or drinks in their hands.” Le was also repeatedly seen taking packages to FedEx, after which items with trackers on them were traced to other countries.

Le, who was already out on bail for a 2019 case that also involved property crime, was arrested Monday and will be charged with at least eight counts of felony possession of stolen property and four counts as a misdemeanor, the Chronicle reports. His wife was not charged with a crime.

Hundreds of retired Save Mart employees to lose health care benefits

About 200 retired nonunion former employees of Northern California-built grocery chain Save Mart Companies — which operates Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx stores — will lose their supplemental health care benefits at the end of June, the Sacramento Bee reports. The change comes after the company, which was founded in Modesto in 1952, was sold to a Los Angeles-based private equity firm in March.

Montesacro’s Walnut Creek location inches closer to opening

Pinsa destination Montesacro has more than just a Marina outpost in the works; the Mercury News has updates on the upcoming outpost in Walnut Creek as well. Per their report, it’ll be taking over the 54 Mint Forno space at 1686 Locust Street and should debut in late May or early June.

Meet the Charter Oak’s new executive chef

In a post on Instagram, Christopher Kostow’s the Charter Oak introduced new executive chef Eddie Lee. Per a bio on the restaurant’s website, Lee arrived in California by way of South Korea and has worked at restaurants including Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park and Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago.