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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Fulton County orders abrupt shutdown of street food vendors

The Burro-Pollo street food vendor after being shut down

The El Burro Pollo street food vendor after being shut down

An enforcer with the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness made the rounds of Poncey-Highland’s burgeoning street-food corridor today and shut down all vendors serving hot food in the middle of their lunch rush.

“We were told we could serve our food as long as we weren’t preparing it on the street,” said Leslie Santiago, who runs the weekends-only El Burro Pollo burrito stand with her husband, Hector.  “But today they told us we needed to have a license, even on private property.”

The Santiagos, who also operate a morning French toast stand, quickly moved the operation inside to their Super Pan Latino Sandwich Shop across the street.

Also shut down was the Atlanta Fry Guy, one block away. The King of Pops, an ice pop push cart, stayed open.

Santiago named a supervisor at the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness whom she was told had ordered the shutdown. Calls to the health department went unanswered, as the offices are closed on Saturday.

According to the department’s website, it is simultaneously a county agency and a district in the state public health system. Fulton is the only county that has this distinction.

183 comments Add your comment

Rudy

February 19th, 2011
4:53 pm

Democrats . . . Man, we got the same problem in DeKalb!

count_schemula

February 19th, 2011
4:55 pm

Oh, sorry, I got sidetracked… on the street food thing, most of world has street food. Not every meal needs to come from a sit down restaurant, especially when $20 for 2 is the price threshold. Street food does not fight with restaurants for business, but is rather a solid alternative to awful fast food. When I went to Georgia State in the 90s, I ate a lot of Barker’s Hot Dogs. That was some quality right there that I would take any day over McDs or BK or Wendys. Taco Bell is not tacos, but a street truck has every possibility of serving up some awesome tacos. Street food gets people on the street, something this city seems to everything it can to avoid.

Rudy

February 19th, 2011
4:55 pm

TimInAtl:

Look at the ballot a little closer next time you vote in Atlanta. The “D” stands for Democrat!

Jennifer

February 19th, 2011
4:58 pm

And yet they can’t do anything to stop people from selling crack on the streets of boulevard. This is infuriating.

godhelpusacom

February 19th, 2011
5:02 pm

Local people and street traffic buying local food from people that use that money to pay taxes and buy more local goods, which helps create local jobs. What is wrong with these people! We all know food stamps and buying prepackaged food from a big chain supermarket is much better for people and the local economy.

If the local code enforcement does not draw the line here, the next thing you know people will be growing and selling their own vegetables from stands!

ATL

February 19th, 2011
5:03 pm

Gee– such mis-information and down-right bigotry– obviously most by folks who haven’t set foot in town in years (if ever)… The health department here and in every city control what foods can be sold and consumed, in a restaurant or on the street in front of it– for very good (public health) reasons…. obviously the permit process DOES have some work to do to get in line with the trend for Food Trucks and Sidewalk food… As for the race things– not even worth a comment except that the Fry man IS African American… and popsicles are sold, but not MADE on the street (thank Goodness)–
Public feedback does have its downside… sad, the vast ignorance and downright stupidity out there…

Joel Rabe

February 19th, 2011
5:03 pm

HA HA HA to the Bank….
Funny – this is not a big deal – get the license then HA HA HA to the bank while your “competition” keeps getting shut down… imagine if even one vendor would have had his license today – he/she would have had a lot of business today… A license ensures your at least serious about your business and are not cooking up your food in the back of your car. _
Take care of your Business

FML

February 19th, 2011
5:05 pm

What ‘work’ is there to do besides change some antiquated laws. Why does this take years as opposed to hours.

FML

February 19th, 2011
5:08 pm

Rabe, there’s no license that is even gettable read the earlier posts. Also you’re a douche.

TGinAtl

February 19th, 2011
5:10 pm

Interesting:
“An enforcer with the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness made the rounds of Poncey-Highland’s burgeoning street-food corridor today and shut down all vendors serving hot food in the middle of their lunch rush.”
… and somehow everyone then pounces on the city. (Can’t you read??? Fulton COUNTY not Atlanta….)
Guess the critics (and there appear to be a WHOLE lot of ‘em here!) have just a tiny bit of trouble reading…. goes to figure.
Now it would be good to have decent, safe street food. That’s an issue that can be resolved.

The Quick + Dirty Dirty · Big Time Bummer

February 19th, 2011
5:11 pm

[...] Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness shut down Leslie and Hector Santiago’s weekend burrito stand, Burro-Pollo and Andrew Long a.k.a The Fry Guy [...]

Bubba

February 19th, 2011
5:12 pm

TimInAtl, it was democrat Bill Campbell, mayor of Atlanta that SCREWED a bunch of street vendors during the Olympics here. DEMOCRAT!!!

count_schemula

February 19th, 2011
5:14 pm

As long as everyone can put everything into neat little boxes with labels who cares.

Vile Personal attacks

February 19th, 2011
5:25 pm

The bickering and personal attacks in these comments are EXACTLY the reason why we cannot see any progress made in addressing the street food laws in this town. As soon as there is a controversy we start blaming each other, our race, our political affiliation, our religion….all the things that make us different from each other. Until we learn to embrace our diversity we will continue to fall down this dreaded spiral of doom. Stop hiding behind the anonymity to spew your hatred. If you don’t like street food or the concept of it – don’t support it and don’t eat it…it’s as simple as that. If you do like it, find constructive ways to support it and the modifications to the laws limiting it.

I’m glad I had an opportunity to CHOOSE to try one of the burritos at Burro-Pollo last weekend. Noone forced me to do so. It was my CHOICE.

Lynda

February 19th, 2011
5:28 pm

Well at least Atlanta is ONLY NUMBER 2 IN CRIME……Now they are NUMBER 1 in DUMBNESS…… What or whom are the food vendors hurting? Oh wait, they are people who could be on Welfare or in the Homeless shelters taking up a bed……I get it Atalnta is losing money because these people are making a living for themselfs. Come on Atlanta you are killing yourself by all of the DUMB moves you are making….I wont come inside 285 because it is a mess in there. If you park wrong then you get BOOTED and it cost you an arm and a leg to get your car….So who wants to come into THE CITY anymore!

Shane T.

February 19th, 2011
5:28 pm

Very fine point about non profits serving the homeless in Atlanta, and the need for a license to do so. They are doing nothing different from a street food vendor. Amazing what the City of Atlanta will do to push business and tax revenue out of business. City officials have no idea how to run a business, much less a city. No business, means no tax revenue! Idiots! We can feed the hungry bad food, but can’t give the city something it needs, and wants. City government getting in the way as usual!

Bill C.

February 19th, 2011
5:30 pm

It’s not as if these vendors just started selling food yesterday. Where has the health enforcement been for the last few months? There have been numerous articles about the food trucks on the pages of this newspaper for the last 6 months.

If anyone here has ever tried to go through the process of getting a building permit or liquor license from Fulton Co. or City of Atlanta, then you understand the staggering level of incompetence and laziness within those departments. It is almost at a 3rd-World Level. Words really don’t do justice to how painful it is to deal with those people.

Hey, good news though, products of that APS education now have the opportunity to get an MBA from Beulah Heights University! I almost drove off the road laughing when I saw that billboard the other day.

Bwana

February 19th, 2011
5:57 pm

“shame on a brother whose dealing!”

count_schemula

February 19th, 2011
6:17 pm

“The same block where my ‘98 be wheelin’”

J. Angel

February 19th, 2011
6:36 pm

The 3 times I’ve gotten food poison was from restaurants with legitimate licenses and Fulton County Health Department APPROVALs! The Mayor needs to clean house. I can’t wait to get the h@ll of this state and I don’t understand why any company would locate here with the APS education results and crime stats.

ATLien

February 19th, 2011
6:41 pm

I hope they make sure the pancake breakfast at church has a permit.
Better yet, Hector and ATL Fry Guy should move to Decatur/Dekalb Dounty

count_schemula

February 19th, 2011
6:51 pm

Doggone, I forgot just how awesome that song really is…

http://www.streetdirectory.com/lyricadvisor/song/ewacff/night_of_the_living_baseheads/

Not every person of color is happy with the state of affairs on Boulevard or Donald Lee Hollowell.

Michele

February 19th, 2011
7:07 pm

You’re editing is once again wrong – Clayton and DeKalb County are also county and district health departments. But, I have little idea what that has to do with the price of tea in China, or burritos on N. Highland.

bikeman

February 19th, 2011
7:22 pm

amazing…this city/county’s Government needs an enema. Just another way to keep the folks that don’t want to EARN a living on the payroll. If you don’t want something to eat off of the street, don’t buy it…I want the choice. FREE HOT DOGS at 632 N. HIGHLAND next SAT.!!

FML

February 19th, 2011
7:24 pm

Fulton County Health & Wellness
99 Jesse Hill Junior Drive Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30303-3045
(404) 730-1211

How about everyone who gives a flying poo about this just show up at Barney’s office monday and get some clarification on why the laws are so stupid and why almost a year after hector started selling burritos across the street from his own restaurant they suddenly decided it was illegal.

[...] more here: Street Food Vendors shut down | Food and More with John Kessler Uncategorized great-food, hey-cook, horrible-city, mon-supervisor, one-since, shut-down, [...]

mre

February 19th, 2011
7:35 pm

We were told that if we used a smoker with an awning that a bird could still fly over and poop on the food. They wont let you cook chicken or any number of things even if you have hot water, covered prep and cook. I dont get it as long as you are sanitary and respect food handling rules – its call refrigeration! what lame people we have in Govt.

bikeman

February 19th, 2011
7:40 pm

FML, will Barney be there…it is a holiday…?

FML

February 19th, 2011
8:25 pm

Oh snap it is a holiday. Ah well. I’ll see you next weekend I need some new tubes.

This is horrible PR for the people holding back all the food truck legislation if we play it right.

starry

February 19th, 2011
8:31 pm

I am furious. I live in Poncey-Highland and the neighborhood was alive today with positive energy on such a beautiful day. WE are proud of our restaurants and the street food vendors who have popped up. folks even come in from OTP to stand in line for a burrito. What is going on? I blame it all on Ray Lewis!!!!!

Anonymous

February 19th, 2011
8:31 pm

It’s always dumass crap like this from Atlanta City Government that does and will ALWAYS make Atlanta a 3rd class city…..

matty

February 19th, 2011
8:32 pm

requiring a business license is standard practice. If they are running a business, get a license and keep on serving, whats the problem, dont you want to make sure it is somewhat sanctioned to feed you, or do you want who knows what served to you ?

count_schemula

February 19th, 2011
8:47 pm

Then make it easy enough to get a license. Sure, license people. You do want to know who is doing what where. You want a way to track complaints. But some of the rules sound pretty stupid. And anyone who has visited a city government office is amazed at how backwards everything is and how jaded most of the employees are.

Santa Ana

February 19th, 2011
8:57 pm

Just move back to Mexico.

hlthnut

February 19th, 2011
9:07 pm

Bottom line….You are required to have certain license and permits to operate a food stand and must meet certain health standards….This is no secret….Restaurants must do it so food stands are no different….Let me guess, you all are the same ones that will say the health and wellness department are not doing enough when you get sick from eating at these places….

Freedom Lover

February 19th, 2011
9:43 pm

Just another example of why the market is superior to government and the political process for EVERYTHING. Government is supposed to protect rights and even on private property they violate them. Government is the greatest evil every american faces. There is always the claim of safety, but in truth it is all about power and protection of the monopoly that other businesses enjoy as the result of their protection money in the form of licenses (and back room payoffs). There was once freedom in this country. Yes, this is just about lunch trucks, but it is only one among hundreds of thousands of examples of government overreach and violations of basic human rights.

Freedom Lover

February 19th, 2011
9:45 pm

Licensure is just another way to restrict entry for smaller businesses. There must always be liability for harm done to others, but a license is no guarantee of safety or quality. It is just a guarantee that the government power will be used to aid existing businesses in their desire to be free from competition.

OldTimer

February 19th, 2011
9:48 pm

Might be time to move.

FML

February 19th, 2011
9:50 pm

All these dumb ‘herp derp just get the license’ dorks don’t realize that they are requiring a license that is nigh-impossible to get.

Andre

February 19th, 2011
9:59 pm

So, you’re telling me that you people are actually mad at the GOVERNMENT for ACTUALLY DOING their JOB???? Did you even consider a person may have phone in a complaint because they may have saw a street vendor do something disgusting?

Mike

February 19th, 2011
10:04 pm

Why don’t they shut the crack vendors down?

FML

February 19th, 2011
10:06 pm

Andre if you were familiar with the vendors in question I don’t think you’d be speculating that they’re doing anything disgusting. Hector’s a Culinary Institute of America graduate and he takes serious pride in his work and probably knows more about food safety than any given inspector. And how concerned are you really about getting sick from the french fry guy?

I See

February 19th, 2011
10:14 pm

I see that the typical assortments of race-baiters, whiners, city bashers, and clowns have shown up on this topic.

Reality Train

February 19th, 2011
10:16 pm

Why do they shut them down during the lunch rush except to flex their power? Put the boot on the neck of the little guy …

I See

February 19th, 2011
10:18 pm

Some of you clowns are not even aware of the fact that the Fulton county health department is not a part of the city government.

I See

February 19th, 2011
10:25 pm

FML,

Noone commenting here is going to show up an ANYONE’S office because the don’t genuinely care. Its just another excuse to b*tch about something with little effort and no consequences..

Hoho

February 19th, 2011
10:27 pm

Unfortunately, the only things the city government in Atlanta are good for are for sucking money out of residents and making life generally difficult. What is this?! The mafia? EVERYONE having anything to do with permits in this awful city should be fired, but really if Atlanta wants to survive, there needs to be one giant turnover. Or there should be a mass exodus from this mess of incompetence and corruption. Something needs to change though….

Intown Foodie

February 19th, 2011
10:56 pm

Shame Shame Atlanta politicians. Your action today is a symptom of a much bigger issue. These are good local small business people bringing joy to the neighborhood. Our taxpayer resources need to be used to keep criminals from breaking into our homes and businesses. @kwanzahall Get off your @$$ and listen to the people that put you in office. Shame on you!

janet

February 19th, 2011
10:58 pm

So maybe all the food vendors should offer their food for free and accept donations from their customers. They can be food distributors to street people who are hungry just like the Churches who distribute food without any oversight for health, cleanliness and refrigeration.

FML

February 19th, 2011
11:23 pm

No, I’m going to be talking to these people this week. I’ve been waiting patiently for these retarded laws to change so I can start my own food cart and this just indicates that they give absolutely no fcuk about moving forward on this. Seriously, are these people elected or appointed, and if they’re appointed who appoints them?