No Soup For You!: Sexy Soup Cart Shut Down by Cops

Sexy Soup Cart got busted by the cops last night.  Good thing!  Nothing is more criminal than vegan Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup.

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.

Author: Kevin Montgomery

No one should have a biography at age 24.

15 thoughts on “No Soup For You!: Sexy Soup Cart Shut Down by Cops”

  1. Don’t the police have better things to do, like, I dunno, catching criminals? If dozens of people had been made ill by a vendor like this it would be one thing. But lovely innocent soup and other vendors are enhancing the City, not creating crime. Remember when the police were fining people for feeding the homeless? Our city’s priorities are pretty messed up.

  2. I believe the fines are $10,000, the permitting fees themselves much less (but the commercial kitchen rental and proper carts are quite an expense)

  3. what about the new crop of corner-standing, fruit-selling immigrants in all parts of the city? as I ride around on my moto, I must see over 100 of them every day. strawberries, cherries, mangos… isn’t that the same darn thing? somebody just drops these folks off to work till their stuff is sold (or else they buy the stuff cheap and keep the whole take for themselves)… but the fruit is all coming from the same source, as the boxes they have stacked in front of them are all the same… and there’s no way they’re gonna pick up and run if the cops show up… too much inventory…

    apparently, they figure they’ll actually get upstanding citizens to pay the fine in order to get their very-expensive carts back…

    1. The fruit vendors aren’t selling prepared food, nor are they actually cooking on the street, so they’re subject to different requirements/regulations. I’m pretty sure they fall into the same category as people having perpetual junk sales on the street.

      It probably is much safer for everyone if there is SOME regulation regarding street food vendors. But then again, if the city made it cheaper and less confusing/complicated to become “legit,” I’m pretty sure most of these folks who do this all the time would make the effort to do so.

      1. The solution might be straighforward, then: sell single cherries (or grapes, or pebbles) and offer fine, prepared treats as /gifts/? Seems as legit as crackheads selling whatever garbage they feel free to lay out on the sidewalks of 16th Sreet.

      2. Well, technically the junk sales are illegal too, just a different category of illegal. When I started my own business I found out that if you have more than two YARD SALES per year, you need to have a seller’s permit, and I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to have another permit and/or permission from the property owner if you’re selling on the street. So you can probably, in theory, get fined for any of that stuff, but I don’t think the fine is nearly as high. Could be wrong about that though.

  4. Yea, the same people who are behind the fruit carts have to be the people behind the pesky solicitors for various causes in the neighborhoods. Its actually kind of creepy these organized soliciting cabals. Meanwhile sexy soup lady gets hammered.

  5. too bad about the shut down, but you can’t really blame the neighbors if that’s who called the cops.

    it’s a bunch of apartments on that tiny alley, lots of people live there…even though the park is across. who would want their quiet residential street packed with people, no matter haw tasty, fun, nice, hip, cool, friendly or sweet the scene might be? no one.

    carts should band together, get some kind of provisional permit or permission, and find a spot. maybe INSIDE that park at 19th & linda. or all along the giant PGE barn on 19th between lex & san carlos. folks would know where to come. it could be a fun thing.

    but no, that wouldn’t be spontaneous or underground enough. and no need to tweet about it. not cool enough. probably never happen.

    1. Agree with zinzin, and would like to push it even more to say that the same goes for street buskers, which we have discussed recently, and more so. There’s no reason buskers and foodies can’t find a venue less annoying to their neighbors, except for the coolness factor and MONEY. In the end, I think it’s really all about money, which forfeits coolness. If the street cart is only in it to maximize cash flow (which is fine with me, BTW), then get the permit and play by the rules. If, on the other hand, you want to play cool, don’t be surprised when the authorities back up the neighbors.

      I’d love to see more action in front of the PG&E station; I walk my dog past it all the time.

      1. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, the permits and stuff cost so much money and time and effort that you could no longer just, like, make some soup and sell it at a little bit above cost. You’d have to charge real money for it and run it like a serious business, and risk losing a lot of money anyway. Since I think most of these new street food people are mainly in it for the fun (NOT the cool) I think this kind of ridiculously convoluted investment wouldn’t really be worth it.

  6. Sorry my neighbors are douche bags. Ever since some new ones moved in with little kids they seem to think that having children means they can impose their Contra Costa lifestyle on everyone else.

    1. there have been families with little kids in the mission forever. it’s a family neighborhood. always has been.

      it’s just that, the families with kids that have lived here for over 50 years, well, for some reason, you don’t see or consider them.

  7. Shameless plug: the SexySoupCart lady is going to be on the League of Pissed Off Voters show on Pirate Cat Radio tonight. 6-8 p.m. 87.9 FM or online

    And we’re also going to have some guy named Matt Gonzalez on the show. I guess he used to be a politician or something?

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