Friday, August 26, 2011

Health Department OKs Bites Off Broadway to Resume

by John Birdsall
Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Looks like Bites Off Broadway is back on for tonight.

Yesterday we reported that the Alameda County Health Department told the organizer of the weekly Temescal street-food event was in violation of vending rules for not having filed an application with the agency. Today, the Health Department's Chris Ogbu told What the Fork that Bites organizer Karen Hester filed the application yesterday, and that his office approved it. That means Bites is cleared for tonight’s event, but with truck vendors only (food vendors selling from tents would have to file for a separate permit).

Before approving Hester’s sponsorship application Thursday, Ogbu said his office had, indeed, issued a de facto suspension of Bites Off Broadway.

Hester didn’t immediately return WTF’s request for comment, but in an update she posted on our Thursday report, Hester wrote this: “I met today with the Alameda Health Department and Bites Off Broadway will be on as usual with only trucks participating [tonight] and they all have valid permits: Docs of the Bay, Jon's Street Eats, El Tacobike, Breads of India, Brothers Kitchen, Go Streetary and Nick Wheely's Breakfast Truck [sic]. Come out and see what Bites Off Broadway has to offer, 5:30-8:30pm in front of Studio One, 365 45th St near Lawton.”

As for any penalties levied on Hester for having failed to file the proper application for an event that’s been going on since June, Ogbu said his office is still weighing the facts, but could issue a fine.

Bites Off Broadway’s struggles come as Oakland officials are feeling increased pressure to approve changes to the city’s 2001 mobile vending ordinance. The law currently allows street-food sales in a limited zone of East Oakland, centered around Fruitvale. A meeting of key stakeholders is scheduled for next week at City Hall.

Get in touch at John.Birdsall@EastBayExpress.com, and follow me on Twitter @John_Birdsall.

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