Few food items have enjoined a more surprising recent resurgence than the savory strips of pig fat known as bacon. It is being wrapped around entrees, used to swizzle cocktails, and even serves as a flavor of ice cream.
But now a popular pork-focused restaurant in the Upper Haight must close its doors Friday following months of failed negotiations with neighbors over neighborhood concerns about porcine aroma and grease disposal.
Department of Public Health officials say the owners of Bacon Bacon, located at 205A Frederick Street, have had months since opening the space to address these and other concerns. But following their failure to do so, the restaurant must shut its doors.
“We allow businesses to operate for awhile under change of ownership,” said Richard Lee, director of environmental health regulatory programs, Department of Public Health. “But they didn’t meet the deadline.”
The announcement has created a swell of online support for the cafe, including an online petition on the Bacon Bacon website with more than 1,600 signatures from Bay Area residents who support the operation. Owner Jim Angelus said he’s overwhelmed by the support.
In August, the restaurant was given a notice that it lacked the proper health permits, according to the letter from The City’s health department instructing it to cease operations. That letter gave the restaurant 75 days to resolve the issue.
A public hearing must be held before Bacon Bacon can continue operating, but one may not be scheduled until July, Planning Department officials said.
Angelus said that he has tried to meet with neighbors to resolve their concerns since last year, but the parties have failed to agree.
“It’s frustrating,” Angelus said. “Two weeks ago, the health department showed up saying we had no permits. So we had a hearing and one person showed up saying they were opposed. They told us we had long enough to resolve these issues — and as a result, we have to cease operations May 17.”
Residents were able to express their concerns following the location’s change in ownership. Neighbors took the occasion to raise concerns with the lack of a filtration system to alleviate the aroma of bacon, illegal parking of a related food truck on a residential street and claims that bacon grease was dumped directly into the sewer system, according to their attorney Ryan Patterson.
The neighbors — whom Patterson declined to name — have been willing to work with the new business owner, but they’ve not seen the same response, he said.
“My client offered to pay the restaurant owner money to install an air filter,” Patterson said. “To date, the owner has not accepted that offer.”
Ted Loewenberg, president of the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association, said his association does not oppose the small business, but that it needs to play by the rules.
“It makes the people who go through the process — as painful as it is — look like chumps,” Loewenburg said. “The purpose of this regulation is that the government is there to provide a basic level of safety.”
But the trouble for Bacon Bacon doesn’t stop there. Angelus was able to replace the store’s food truck recently, but he can’t operate that either unless he secures an approved kitchen location where he can prepare meals.