Officials toss around late-night pizza ban

Drunks next year may leave the Broadway strip on empty stomachs if city officials move ahead with a suggested ban on early-morning pizza sales in the neighborhood, which some say could curb violence, rowdiness, public drunkenness and littering.

When glassy-eyed revelers emerge from clubs on the North Beach strip at 2 a.m., fights and drunkenness sometimes take over the street, according to city officials. In September 2006, officials announced an increase in police patrols and new rules for party buses in an effort to tackle the problem.

Such a decision could shut down Cable Car Pizza, according to its owner of 10 years.

“We get busy between 12 and 3 in the morning,” Saied Amin told The Examiner. “That’s when we make money.”

Earlier this month, The City’s Planning Commissioners asked staff to consider ordering both of the strip’s pizza parlors to close at 2 a.m. No other stores on the strip sell food past 2 a.m., commissioners were advised, although some restaurants remain open on nearby streets.

Broadway Express Pizza, a few storefronts away from Cable Car Pizza, was recently ordered to shut at 2 a.m., as required by its license. Its owners have asked The City to extend their operating hours past 2 a.m.

Closing the parlors at 2 a.m. or earlier could curb violence andpublic drunkenness and reduce litter from pizza boxes and plates, Central Station police Capt. James Dudley told commissioners at the meeting. Dudley said earlier club closing times could also help solve problems in the area.

“Cable Car Pizza allows people to congregate up to 3 or 4 o’clock,” Dudley told commissioners. “I’m tasked to manage the crowd, which is sometimes 30, 40 or more people.”

Closing the pizza parlors could cause other problems, the pizza owners and customers said to the commissioners.

“A lot of the people coming out of the clubs, they’ve been drinking — they’re hungry and they want something fast,” Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini said. “We don’t want them going to their cars and driving.”

Dudley’s suggestion contradicted a letter sent to commissioners by Central Station Officer Keith Matthews, who said he has patrolled Broadway for eight years.

“A responsible walk-away pizza place on this end of the Corridor would assist in alleviating the long lines at other nearby eateries,” Matthews wrote in a letter filed with the commission, “and hasten the time it takes to clear the partygoers from the neighborhood.”

Commissioner William Lee said The City should consider ordering other neighborhood eateries to shut no later than 2 a.m.

No votes were cast. A report dealing with the suggestion is expected in late January.

On Broadway on Saturday night, several fights were broken up, three people were arrested for drunkenness and another was arrested for punching out a restaurant’s window, according to police reports.

jupton@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

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