accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

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

bride of puerquito

February 19th, 2011
3:06 pm

Ha Ha! Atlanta sucks…

Jon Watson

February 19th, 2011
3:09 pm

So, so lame.

bride of puerquito

February 19th, 2011
3:11 pm

food trucks aside. Does anyone care that Santi Santamaria passed away this week? because I do.

don't care

February 19th, 2011
3:12 pm

who gives a crap!

david

February 19th, 2011
3:16 pm

Nanny State Fascists

Tommyg

February 19th, 2011
3:17 pm

Anything to hurt the little man.

lynn

February 19th, 2011
3:17 pm

Absolute insanity.

Robyn Jackson

February 19th, 2011
3:18 pm

Fulton County and the APD stand idly by as suburban church folks come into downtown and serve God knows what to homeless people out of a van – and they want to shut down street vendors – this is insane!

Horsetoothedjackass

February 19th, 2011
3:19 pm

Shouldn’t the local government be concerned about much more important things, like CRIME?

Bud Flu

February 19th, 2011
3:21 pm

AAAAAAAA……….Buddy!

Joe

February 19th, 2011
3:25 pm

It is things like this that are driving folks away from Atlanta. We have a horrible city government, corruption and crime and going up, and yet the one thing we do have – a great food scene – is continuously being threatened. C’mon supervisor – who are you helping out with this shutdown? What did you get in return? What false or yet-to-be passed law will you recite in your reasoning? These food stands are helping to shape our neighborhoods and give us great destinations to go to – why don’t we work on fixing the crime that is rampant down here first and leave the things that we actually do like alone!

dmcsga

February 19th, 2011
3:30 pm

It just comes to show that southerners are just dumber than dirt! It doesn’t surprise me that the State of GA and City of Atlanta doesn’t have any money. They are experts in running things to the ground and they do deserve it! All of it

First they shut down the entire Atlanta nightlife to build condos everywhere, well the smart people of Atlanta miscalculated one thing — The people that came here were coming for the nightlife — now that it is shut down, the developments in Buckhead are half finished and all these fancy condos have a huge vacancy rate, in addition all the restaurant are shutting down. Why? No one comes down there any more – For what? Parking is completely out of control with Park Atlanta. I would never buy I condo in Midtown, Downtown or Buckhead.

They did the same thing in Tucker, once a thriving section of town with Northlake Mall having Parisians as an Anchor store, the entire Northlake area was blossoming similar to the Perimeter area, however these old ass conservative have an issue with progress, they rejected a bunch of nightlife and entertainment operations. Now when you go over there it’s like a Ghost town, majority of businesses left and are struggling, Northlake Mall turned into a flea market with a bunch of shut down stores

Any opportunity to generate revenue is being shut down by these old conservatives. They think that their old money is holding the economy here up which is false, they don’t spend money, they don’t buy anything, they just keep their property up and that’s it. Nothing goes into the neighborhoods but yet they get make all the decisions because they are deeply rooted.

Atlanta once was a promising city, but the reality is no one cares about the city, companies don’t because a lot of foreign companies are the ones setting up shop, and if you have that old southern confederate mind state, they do not want to be here. The companies need to go to progressive states and cities, leave the conservatives to rott.

The New World Order Will Fail

February 19th, 2011
3:33 pm

Well d@mn. How petty has Atlanta become? They will let grocery stores sell outdated food, aspertame laced drinks and allow the general public to drink sodium flouride in our tap water, paint the skies with aluminum and arsenic but won’t allow street vendors to exist? WTF is this world coming to? If they are going to shut down anyone’s business, it should be places like McDonalds and other fast food places who promote unhealthy eating habits and obesity. There are waaaaay to many fat a$$es rolling around the city. They are clearly more concerned with harassment than they are with the crime that plagues the city. I guess if you let the dope boys, pedophiles, rapists and thieves remain on the streets, then the police and crooked a$$ government officials will always have jobs. Now I understand why I HATE control freaks.

Brazen Unicorn

February 19th, 2011
3:36 pm

That sucks! I don’t get these folks in Atlanta.

Bobby

February 19th, 2011
3:38 pm

Sounds to me more like the Fulton County Dept. of Health and Wellness needs to be shut down instead of vendors just making a living. One more example of government interference.

anon

February 19th, 2011
3:40 pm

caveat emptor; Let the buyer beware.

Seems when individual start to find legitimate work instead of looking for handouts the government shuts them down. How on earth are we ever going to create jobs and get out of the recession if the government keeps interfering?

The Real Foodie

February 19th, 2011
3:40 pm

Do they require a license in LA?

ATLien

February 19th, 2011
3:42 pm

What else does the city have to worry about? I mean who cares that property crime here is the worst in the nation, APS can’t educate kids, gangs, drugs…those all pale in comparison to great food being sold on private property. This city and state are so backwards it’s pathetic. Smoke wherever you please but don’t even think about buying a bottle of wine on Sunday!

eric

February 19th, 2011
3:42 pm

I feel sorry for the vendors–harming no one. Ridiculous gov’t intrusion!

eric

February 19th, 2011
3:45 pm

I feel sorry for the vendors–they’re harming no one and serve people who need help. This kind of gov’t intrusion is unjustified.

Wrong

February 19th, 2011
3:47 pm

Fulton County has certainly missed out on an opportunity to collect revenue. They could sell the licenses to these businesses and allow them to setup shop and move around as they please. There has to be some type of structure for them to exist.

abby

February 19th, 2011
3:48 pm

Such a ridiculous thing to target! These are taxpaying businesses that are bringing visitors to our neighborhoods, encouraging foot traffic to our stores, and starting to form a cultural fabric for the city! Especially with the O4W park opening up around the corner soon, street food is something we WANT in our neighborhood!

Sure, anyone selling food should have a permit. But the permitting process should be a simple one, one that is not extraordinarily expensive, and one that ends in a person actually obtaining a permit that allows them to sell food on public property. I don’t think whatever Atlanta has in place hits on any of those factors just yet.

Yo mama

February 19th, 2011
3:49 pm

yall kill me talking about gov’t intrusion. but as soon as someone gets sick or finds a rat in their food, then everybody will shout that the gov’t needs to do more. seriously. make up your mind and stick to one side. take a solid stand.

martin

February 19th, 2011
3:50 pm

Most cities if not all require a licence. Go out and get one for pete’s sake. I don’t see the problem here.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Georgia Organics, brokesocialite, Jennifer Zyman, Melissa Libby, Carl Seville and others. Carl Seville said: RT @BethSEGreen: RT @georgiaorganics: Fulton County shut down of street vendors http://fb.me/Exc9u99T [...]

Bobby

February 19th, 2011
3:54 pm

@Yo Mama
Show me the rat ever found in one of these vendor’s foods.

revolution

February 19th, 2011
3:56 pm

You are on borrowed time, Barney Harmon. Borrowed time.

JayInAtlanta

February 19th, 2011
3:59 pm

Okay, I love the street food culture in other cities. So let me ask: do the street food vendors in NYC, SFO, and LA need licenses before they can serve, even on private property? I don’t know, because the scene there is so established. However, I bet they do need to be licensed.

Of course Atlanta is looking at this as a money issue. But the cities I mentioned, now including Atlanta, also have a responsibility to guard the public health. I’ve had really terrible poisoning a few times in my life, and I don’t want to risk it again. So I personally avoid the “underground” food culture, even though I know full well about some of the events.

The street food market is NOT underground when it is in places as out-in-the-open as a parking lot in the Highlands. Tourists and locals deserve the safest food possible. They expect the food to be kept at the correct temperature in functioning equipment. If that means licensing the vendors (especially if other cities do it), then I’m in favor.

revolution

February 19th, 2011
4:03 pm

As for all you “get a license” morons go, SuperPan was told they do not need one since they aren’t even cooking the food outside, t hey cook it across the street in their restaurant. What’s next, shut down families having picnics? No, the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness is what is going to be shut down next.

JB

February 19th, 2011
4:04 pm

At least they didn’t shut down King of Pops. They’re the only ones I care about, really.

Devils Advocate

February 19th, 2011
4:08 pm

@ Davey Boy Smith: Not all African Americans fit the stereotype that you describe. In fact, the majority of African Americans do not. Many possess degrees from LEGITIMATE universities and don’t even watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Regarding OJ: INNOCENT! haha!

Mike

February 19th, 2011
4:15 pm

They shut down the food vendors, so now everyone is going to move somewhere else? LOL, how old are you people again?

Maybe that is why nothing changes here. Instead of moving, call or email the Fulton County Health Department and complain. Better yet, don’t vote for these morons. The demographics in Atlanta have changed a lot for the better and will continue to do so. And I mean, it does kind of make sense that you would need a license…

TML

February 19th, 2011
4:19 pm

@dmcsga: “Southern conservatives” do not run Atlanta/Fulton/DeKalb County anymore…black people do. Mostly everyone in the top and mid-levels of Atlanta/Fulton/DeKalb County government are blacks – NOT ‘redneck Southern conservatives’. Your anger is correct, but where you direct it is woefully misplaced.

JayInAtlanta

February 19th, 2011
4:23 pm

Did anyone consider that the Dept of Health got involved because someone ate some bad food earlier this week? I’ve called in a complaint about a brick-and-mortar place before, and it was taken seriously. Who knows if food had been sitting out for hours at an unsafe temperature – don’t care where it was prepared – and the Dept reacted to a legitimate complaint?

Shutting down a health department is not the answer. And no, they won’t come after picnics, because no one is charging people money and inviting them to try picnic food that may or may not be safe.

FML

February 19th, 2011
4:24 pm

I would have a food cart by now if the laws here weren’t so utterly retarded. You’re kneecapped from the getgo. I do not know why. I have worked in kitchens in this city for years and there is so much dumb unsafe stuff that goes on in between health inspections that my mind reels. But if I wanted to sell some nice sandwiches on a griddle on a cart where I’m controlling everything it’s illegal.

Truth

February 19th, 2011
4:28 pm

Atlanta is only happy with any business as long is it is catering to blacks.

FML

February 19th, 2011
4:31 pm

^ Hey they were chicken burritos

Kwanza Hall

February 19th, 2011
4:31 pm

This is not acceptable! We have already reached out to County Commissioners and will update you shortly. LOVE Streetfood.

TimInAtl

February 19th, 2011
4:31 pm

Atlanta makes it next to impossible to run a food truck here. City and State laws clash in this example:

1. Vendors MUST be in 1 of 2 locations so they can be easily found by the health dept.
2. A vendor CANNOT stay at a public location for more than a half hour.

So… if you don’t have private property to park your truck, one can only sell in one location for a half hour, before moving to location 2 to sell for a half hour, then close-up for the day/evening, because one can no longer legally sell food that day. Only festivals are exempt from these requirements.

Also, food must be prepared in a kitchen NOT shared by anyone.
In most cities, food for trucks are prepared at shared commissaries (kitchens).

A partner and myself wanted to run a food truck, be we’re scraping the idea.
We have friend that runs a business with a commercial kitchen that we we’re going to use. Well, not legal in Atlanta, because that would mean 2 parties would be sharing a kitchen. Retarded…

These are the reasons Atlanta CANNOT have a thriving mobile food scene, until these laws are changed anyway…

For those of you who think street food is a dangerous, unregulated crap shoot, please do some research, they are inspected just like brick and mortar restaurants. Oh, and the only time I’ve ever gotten food poisoning (2x), was at sit-in restaurants.

Hominid X

February 19th, 2011
4:32 pm

Licensing here is a difficult task, which is why we don’t have much street food culture.

To people making it about race: please, go die in a fire, in front of your family.

FML

February 19th, 2011
4:35 pm

Thanks for spelling it out Tim. Hector was walking a thin line with using his parking lot, and now we know how that goes.

TimInAtl

February 19th, 2011
4:37 pm

Oh and in regards to my comments above regarding the requirement to be in 1 of two places only…

I forgot to mention, these 2 locations must be on your license application, long before you even set up shop. I do not know what kind of hoops one must jump through to change your location. A nightmare, I’m sure…

FML

February 19th, 2011
4:38 pm

I don’t have much hope for this ever changing in the near future either seeing as how we still can’t buy a freaking six pack from the grocery store on a Sunday.

Hell Bent

February 19th, 2011
4:40 pm

People People People !!! Have any of you forgot that The Great City Of Atlanta Is BROKE and they are trying to find any method means or know how to get monies flowing back into the hands of the Corrupt !!!

Rudy

February 19th, 2011
4:41 pm

Well, that is what you get when you have a bunch of Democrats running your city!

count_schemula

February 19th, 2011
4:42 pm

In the early mid 90’s Atlanta was so much raw clay. Almost every single thing that has happened since is a guide on how NOT to do things. Symbolically, Atlanta died when Oxford books closed and Backstreets was finally shut down. The developers did a horrible job with the Inman Park area by Elizabeth Street. Atlantic Station is a place I never want to go for so many reasons. The whole condo craze has just turned the entire city into insta slums. The streets are in such bad repair that why even have a nice car just so you can bust a tire on a steel plate or have it broken into when parked. Where are the bike lanes? Who would even ride a bike in a city where running red lights is equal to street cred? Ever seen a handicapped person park in a handicap spot? Atlanta could have been great, but instead we sold out cheap and just went for massive shiithole.

TimInAtl

February 19th, 2011
4:44 pm

Eh, no, it was conservatives who wanted unsightly street vendors off the streets once Atlanta came into prominence via the Olympics…

TimInAtl

February 19th, 2011
4:46 pm

@count_schemula… I agree with most of what you said. City of Atlanta is woefully short-sighted….

FML

February 19th, 2011
4:48 pm

Hey at least we have the beltline. Oh wait it’s a dirt path that’s only good for getting mugged.

FML

February 19th, 2011
4:51 pm

King of Pops is in basically the only market (frozen, prepackaged) that the law allows.