Chile Lindo is Closing, But Who Is to Blame?

It’s easy to demonize Craig Yates for causing the closure of Chile Lindo on 16th, one of the neighborhood’s favorite empanada spots.  After all, he and his attorney have been on a rampage around the area recently, suing over 30 local businesses for ADA violations (he’s even suing Turtle Tower).  Furthermore, Paula Tejada and her empanadas have plenty of fans and supporters (who refer to her affectionately as “the Girl from Empanada”), owing to the deliciousness of her specialty and her friendly demeanor.

However, as SFoodie points out, wasn’t the Americans with Disabilities Act instituted in order to protect a certain (under-represented) group of people from discrimination?  Yates obviously feels that he is being discriminated against by not being allowed to fit inside a restaurant like other customers.  Just because he’s being a jerk about it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s wrong.  He views himself as a crusader for disabled rights.  Tejada sees him as an opportunistic nuisance out to make a quick buck on the backs of small business owners.

It’s a much trickier issue than anyone initially anticipated.  I don’t even know what to think anymore.  I just wish she had installed a ramp at her place before this whole thing got out of control.

[Photo by Melody Wong]


It’s Always Sunny in the Mission: Chile Lindo Empanadas

Chile Lindo Moves to 16th and Capp

Author: Andrew Sarkarati

caution is the path to mediocrity. gliding, passionless mediocrity is all that most people think they can achieve.

19 thoughts on “Chile Lindo is Closing, But Who Is to Blame?”

  1. Ummm, maybe I’m just an a-hole, but why not just patronize businesses that are in compliance? Cripples can be such babies….

  2. yes, it is easy to demonize Craig Yates for causing the closure of Chile Lindo on 16th.

    thats because he IS a demon!

    and yeah mr mean you ARE an a-hole!


  3. Dude. Chile Lindo is a takeout restaurant to begin with, and the owner of the restaurant would come out and give the dude his empanada.

    ADA has great goals, but unfortunately it is virtually impossible (and/or prohibitively expensive) for many buildings/spaces here in SF to become compliant. As long as the restaurant owner isn’t refusing to serve them, I don’t see what the problem is.

    1. I totally agree with this. I have no doubt that Paula or any of her employees would gladly take his order from the door and walk out and hand him the food. He’s on a rampage.

  4. Crusader eh?…., this sounds like the same P.O.S. that’s been hounding businesses in South Lake Tahoe the last couple years. Same M.O. Likely the same attorney. If this guy’s not handicapped…I’d like to give him one.

  5. ADA laws are specifically designed to help the disabled make money off of lawsuits. To utilize private businesses to subsidize the handicaps because the government itself is too poor to do so. There are hundreds of ways to make ADA laws more friendly to businesses (like giving out a first warning, etc), less draconian, and still accomplish the goal of making the environment disabled-friendly but no; the laws itself is purposely designed to be impossible to follow. At least that’s what my cousin told me. She’s a judge on the County Court.

  6. if he’s making cash at the expense of restaurants closing down, he’s not a crusader for anything, just a capitalist. if he really gave a shit about places being in ADA compliance he’d work with the COMMUNITY and figure out a solution that benifits everyone.
    I dunno this guy personally or anything but he’s making a bad name for himself & his cause. not good PR.

  7. Unfortunately, many of the ADA lawsuits you do read about often don’t actually bring any change to the access. Many of them are settled, as in the defendant pays a settlement, but in many cases, does not actually do the improvements (usually because they are cost prohibitive, or even impossible given a building’s structure).

    Many of the lawsuits do not force compliance but PENALIZE for non-compliance.

    Cote del Sud in the Castro had stairs leading up, I do not think they had any ADA access and were ripe for a lawsuit, and if they did get hit with one, there would be now way to comply (unless you put in an elevator, which was probably impossible given other tenants), so in that case, the lawsuit would penalize Cote del Sud, and they would simply pay to settle, but that could mean that in another year, someone could come right back and sue again for non-compliance.

    While the goals are laudatory, in many cases, compliance is near impossible. You can get a variance or claim a ADA complaince hardship, but that still does not protect you from the ADA and the requirement that ALL establishments must comply.

    Have any of you ever heard of ADA lawsuits being filed because some trails on State/Federal land must also allow for equal access? I seem to recall that it has occured before.

    1. Ugh. So indicative of a culture that puts a price tag on inconvenience. I think “emotional damages” is a disgusting concept. Ironically, I believe it actually does the greatest disservice to those who are compensated. It just feeds into an overall culture of entitlement and greed, and puts a price tag on something that shouldn’t be measured that way. I think it’s debasing to be paid off in such a way.

  8. OK, the arguments here seem poorly thought out. We pay cops to enforce the laws. Our legal system allows for individuals to sue over wrongs, and get paid compensation for damages. Are the cops greedy “capitalists” because they get paid to enforce the laws? No. So a private citizen is enforcing a law with civil penalties; when is the last time you heard of the cops enforcing ADA violations? Since cops won’t do it, the only party able to is one who is actually a victim. Monetary compensation is, primarily, the only kind of compensation that the law allows.

    If you don’t like the law, well, go for it – get the ADA repealed or reformed. It probably should be reformed. But, stop blaming the victims for enforcing the law as written. If this guy is suing without cause, he’s a “vexatious litigant” and will have his Waterloo. (see )

    1. I totally agree with you that being compensated for damages with money is poorly thought out. I would go one further and say it’s disgusting.

  9. I can’t wait until you folks are disabled or see someone you love paralyzed in an accident. That’s going to truly be a dish served cold.

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