Viewpoint: Do Not Support Unlicensed Eateries

This taco stand sets up on the sidewalk along Sunset Boulevard. It does not have the proper sanitation facilities.

Several people have asked why this editor does not like the illegal food vendor that sets up on the sidewalk in front of Ralphs.

Start with illegal.

What part of illegal do people not understand?

All other restaurants in town must follow health guidelines. They have to pay rent, they pay taxes, they are required to pay the minimum wage to employees, they undergo inspections and are graded by the County Health Department. (Even the food trucks that line Temescal and Sunset are inspected and are graded—my favorite, Galvan’s Catering, has an A.)

This fly-by-night operation on Sunset doesn’t follow the rules, which is one reason why the food is so cheap.

One person wrote that some think this is a mom-and-pop operation and that we should support people who just want to make a living.  But Shekos is actually part of a larger operation run out of the valley.

I know a local mom-and-pop operation, it is called Cinque Terre. Co-owner Gianbattista and wife Marlo live in Pacific Palisades. They donate to local events, they pay rent, they follow regulations, and they need residents to support them.

Many of Palisades restaurant owners with a brick-and-mortar business live here, and support school auctions and other community events.

Although prices may seem high, most restaurants are eking by. Owners would like to lower entrée costs, but given taxes, and city, county and state regulations, prices in Pacific Palisades are in line with other restaurants on the Westside.

Shekos comes to town and people start clamoring about how cheap it is. Why is it cheap? No sinks for hand washing and no way to keep items refrigerated – and who knows where the meat comes from.

One resident asked what happens if someone gets food poisoning from this vendor. “People die from salmonella and E.coli. Who are you going to chase down if anyone gets sick off this tasty illegal vendor? I wouldn’t feed it to my children that’s for sure.”

The police and L.A. County Health shut Shekos down on April 5 and removed containers of food.

Why is Shekos back? A resident called Hermione Carona of the Health Department and asked. The resident was told the taco people were cited for multiple reasons, but had given fake IDs and did not show up for their hearing.

Until the police are free to accompany them, the County Health official said they can’t return. The official asked why the fire department across the street has not shut Shekos down because of the illegal and hazardous propane tanks the vendor uses. The official said it is not uncommon for the tanks to explode, which will set the canopy on fire.

If you want your child to contract salmonella and possibly experience a propane explosion, then by all means save $2 on a taco.

Or you can get reasonably priced tacos and great guacamole at Prima Cantina (KaynDave’s old location). One can order an individual taco ($4 for the chicken and $5 for the  shrimp) and the food is delicious.

To those people who want to keep this illegal operation in place by purchasing food, don’t complain about homelessness, reckless driving or lack of police enforcement, because you are personally undermining the enforcement of laws by patronizing this illegal operation.

If you don’t like the laws, change them.  But until then, laws should be obeyed and that includes the taco stand.

Illegal cooking on the street results in bad air quality.

This entry was posted in businesses/stores, Crime/Police, Restaurants. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Viewpoint: Do Not Support Unlicensed Eateries

  1. Mary cole says:

    I am shocked every time I pass by this food vendor ion Sunset near Ralph’s.
    It cannot be sanitary. I certainly wouldn’t order food from there,

  2. Lucy says:

    Great article. I completely agree. You are a treasure Sue!

  3. Jim McCashin says:

    Well done!

  4. DEBBIE B SCHEM says:

    YOU ARE SPOT ON SUE!!!!! Great thoughtful, educated response!!! Why risk your health for $2.00. We should support our community!!

  5. Dana Dalton says:

    Completely agree but leftist, Steve Cron does not agree with you.
    The problem would be solved if PPCC would agree that the taco stand is not appropriate.
    Proof ? Look at his ND post on that taco thread
    It says everything

  6. Steve Dahlberg says:

    Thank you so much Sue! I completely agree with you. Clarification though, Prima Cantina is in the old Kay & Dave’s space. Que Padre, I believe, is in Caruso’s Village. I absolutely love Prima Cantina. As you said, it’s not as inexpensive, but you get what you pay for and more. Too many people have no idea what it costs to run a business, in particular a food business, in the most heavily regulated jurisdiction on the planet. It’s incredibly unfair to just allow another business to roll in and ignore the rules.

  7. Sue says:


    You are absolutely right–and individual tacos at Prima Cantina are $4 for chicken and $5 for shrimp–



  8. Terri says:

    I hear stands like these serve goat, and call it beef or lamb.

  9. J.A. says:

    Excellent job reporting on this. We are appalled each time we drive by. It is a fire and safety hazard. How can this go on in a community designated as a very high fire severity zone? The use of open flames in a public space is severely restricted. It has also been reported in the LA Times that when the meat from these vendors is tested, it is found to be either unidentifiable and/or unfit for human consumption. Additionally, does anyone really think this illegal enterprise ends at tacos? It is crazy to hear that PPCC has not taken a stronger stance on this.

  10. Liz Garello says:

    I totally agree, although I found this article due to searching “Prima” and “food poisoning” due to what I contracted there yesterday. If this happens with restaurants that are legal, I don’t even want to know how sick I could get from this taco stand. Pass!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *