SF Weekly’s SFoodie blog called it Thursday:
What’s the likelihood that city authorities will stage a crackdown on scofflaw entrepreneurs, especially in the face of mainstream buzz? Conversations with officials from both the police and the Health Department suggested that while the city doesn’t currently seem to have much appetite for busts of vendors like Curtis the Crème Brulee Guy, Cookie Wag, Amuse Bouche, or Sexy Soup Lady, the possibility of future action is real.
Richard Lee, the city’s director of Health Regulatory Programs, told SFoodie that action against unlicensed vendors almost always comes from the police. “Anytime we see or know about a violation, we report it to the police,” said Lee. “They can shut the vendor down, and a lot of the time they might confiscate their food.” The Health Department has some two dozen inspectors crisscrossing the city to perform inspections of restaurants and other permitted facilities. When they notice a street vendor they suspect of being unlicensed, procedure calls for them to alert the cops.
Early last month, Lee’s department was reportedly monitoring vendor tweets about when and where food sellers would show up to do business. He said it informed officers at Mission Station about suspected illegal sales. (link)
That said, Sexy Soup Lady speculated that last night’s bust might have not been provoked by City Hall, but by neighbors:
Cops were kinda cool (warning, no fine)…seemed like they were called by Linda St. residents. Have to find a new spot… StealthSoupCart.;) (link)
With hate potentially coming from multiple directions now, it will be interesting to see if the more production-oriented carts like Sexy Soup and Magic Curry can survive while dodging the police and regulators desperate for their absurd $10,000 permit fees. Unfortunately, it sounds like more mobile street food vendors, which can easily evade the police, will be the only game in town in a couple of months.