Assistant City Administrator Barbara Andersen | Credit: Courtesy

In response to urgent complaints lodged by legal food-truck operators and some restaurant owners, the combined might of Santa Barbara’s City Hall and the county’s Public Health Department have launched an effort to crack down on illegal street food vendors. 

Since May 23, City Hall has initiated three enforcement operations and have more enforcement operations planned for this week and throughout the summer months. Of special concern, according to Assistant City Administrator Barbara Andersen, are large operators who have opened large, pop-up, restaurant-scale accommodations — such as the one on West Mission Street just a block from the Mission Street on-ramp — that rely on open flames. This constitutes a violation of the city’s Fire Code, Andersen said, and qualifies as a criminal violation. Such violations require the immediate shut-down of the operation and the food discarded. But according to a number of legal food truck vendors, who charged that their livelihoods are in jeopardy because of unfair competition, the illegal vendors come back the next day and county health inspectors are playing a losing round of whack-a-mole. 

Andersen said that smaller sidewalk vendors have been targeted as well, but with more educational outreach than enforcement. Vendors using open flames — such as the hot-dog vendors setting up outside the Santa Barbara Bowl or the Arlington Theatre — are the city’s most immediate priority. City Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez said most of the vendors come from out of town — some from as far away as Los Angeles. 


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.