Street Taco Stand Divides the Palisades

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Street taco stands, like the one in front of Ralphs, do not follow city regulations.

If one even started to question if a popup taco stand, Shekos Tacos, on the street by Ralphs had approval from the City of Los Angeles, one was instantly called a snob and out to destroy this “affordable” dining option in Pacific Palisades.

Let’s look at the restaurant/bar checklist that the City requires to open a restaurant:

  • Apply for an employer identification number or Federal Tax ID Number from the IRS, which allows you to hire employees
  • Apply for a seller’s permit from the CA State Board of Equalization—every location must have this permit to sell taxable goods.
  • Choose and file a business name.
  • Review the Americans with Disability Act guidelines.
  • Review the City of Los Angeles Minimum Wage requirements.

Find a Location:

  • Check on zoning to make sure a restaurant is allowed in the area.
  • Check on parking requirements and ask the landlord if the lease includes enough parking spaces for an eatery.

If a person is ready to open a restaurant:

  • Contact the Department of Building and Safety for a permit, and they will provide a clearance summary worksheet that includes what approvals may be required, including those from the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles County of Heath.
  • Contact the Los Angeles County Department of Health to obtain a public health permit.
  • If the restaurant generates fats, oils and grease during preparation, one will need an industrial wastewater permit from the Department of Sanitation.
  • All employees who handle food (preparation, storage or serving) must take a food safety course and obtain a Food Handler Permit.

Regarding the Palisades street pop-up, you might ask where do food handlers wash their hands? Where do food handlers go to the bathroom? Where do customers wash their hands or use the restroom?

Why should Ralphs/Anawalt/Pharmaca parking lot become an ad hoc parking lot for a popup food place? Is the taco stand paying for its customers to use the lot?

Who pays to pick up the trash generated? The City has relinquished that job in town to the Business Improvement District, who hires Chrysalis to have it done. Local businesses pay a tax to the BID to keep the streets cleaned. That means that other businesses have to  pay to pick up the taco stand trash.

This Circling the News editor, who grew up with no money and whose parents could only afford to take us to a restaurant maybe twice a year (and we’re not talking fine dining–usually hamburgers and fries) understands it is nice to go out.

If my family went to town nearby to see a doctor or had other business and it was over the lunch hour, my parents bought bread and lunch meat in the grocery store and we made sandwiches in the car and ate them on the way home. Many Palisades families are in a similar situation, and most of the restaurants in town are not affordable.

Mort’s Deli use to provide an affordable place for families. Now, Palisades Garden Café has reasonable prices, as does Blin Blin. This editor paid $5 for a shrimp taco at Prima Cocina that was delicious. (That restaurant just opened in the Kayndaves space).

But, this business on the sidewalk is unfair to all the town restaurant owners, who have saved to open an eatery in a building. These people pay the taxes, are required to pay the minimum wage and are subject to inspections.

CTN disagrees with the person who wrote on Nextdoor, “The fact that there are enough customers for the trucks to expand the business is an indication of a niche market that has gone unserved. I can see nothing but positives here, delicious, fresh, affordable food that cannot be found anywhere else in the Palisades, increased foot traffic for local businesses and a place where locals can actually MEET and TALK to their neighbors. Something sorely lacking in this town.”

Two other people responded, “The tacos are cheap because they have no permits, pay no taxes, and use public property for their private/for profit business.”

And another resident wrote “The fact that these stands have no inspections, and many have no refrigeration just leads to the old adage ‘Buyer Beware’. …enjoy.”

There are rules in place. Either everyone in the City follows them or none of us do.

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5 Responses to Street Taco Stand Divides the Palisades

  1. John Marrone says:

    Bah, humbug!

  2. 'joy' says:

    I fully agree with the comments about the hidden additional cost to local vendors when gypsy lunch wagons set up shop in the village. It’s difficult enough to go through all the hoops, developing a clientele and investing life savings without competing with folks who don’t follow the rules by being transient. I sympathize with the gypsies but fair is fair. I don’t want to lose local merchants because they can’t compete with the prices of the gypsy set-ups.

  3. K.C. Soll says:

    All are valid points. I agree! Thanks for the information.

  4. Donna Vaccarino says:

    Probably a nice option to have lunch some where in PP for less than $50 bucks a person!

  5. Aileen says:

    I’m with Sue 100%. I’ve driven through the Ralph’s parking lot many times this year, trying to find a parking space to shop at Pharmaca and Anawalt, and realized that the customers for the 3 or 4 food trucks parked on Sunset have taken up a good deal of the spots. I drove away reminding myself to visit again at some “non meal time”. These trucks should park somewhere else—such as Temescal—where they are not using another business’ amenity for their use. I also think the size of the trucks parked there cause traffic, safety issues.

    If you’ve owned a small business, you appreciate entrepreneurship—but this sidewalk restaurant is not a friend or responsible to the community.

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