Buy Hot Dogs From Unlicensed Street Vendors & They’ll Keep Selling Them

92101 NEWS & NOTES: Both the public and the pols are complicit in illegal food stands. PLUS: No free burgers at Petco Jack & more urban items
How sanitary does this food vendor setup look to you?

Downtown San Diego business owners are upset. Unlicensed street vendors are once again setting up illegal food stands at night. Especially in the Gaslamp Quarter and during night baseball games at Petco Park in East Village.

One thing helping these scofflaw operations proliferate: A public that’s willing to patronize them.

The city passed an ordinance last year banning renegade hot dog stands and the like. That worked for a period of time. Recently, the street vendors have come back in droves.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has insisted the Sidewalk Vending Ordinance will be enforced.

“We will not allow the brazen disregard of our City’s Sidewalk Vending Ordinance,” Gloria said at a press conference on August 11, 2023. “As part of today’s meeting, I shared our plan of action for increased enforcement of the regulations, which will now include immediate impoundment of illegal food vendors’ equipment.”

After an August 16 Padres night game, unlicensed hot dog vendors were freely operating on Park Avenue outside Petco Park. Police officers in the vicinity appeared to disregard them.

I passed by three vendors grilling hot dogs, sausages and vegetables on hot silver trays readily exposed to the public. 

A group of young men in Padres jerseys harassed me for taking a photograph of one of the vendors.

“Leave him alone, man, let him make his money.” one passer-by shouted.

At another vendor stand, two women got out their cash to pay for hot dogs. I mentioned they were buying from an unlicensed vendor.

“Ah, well, we do it all the time, so…” one woman reasoned. 

Illegal vendors cause legally licensed businesses to lose about 10% of business, according to a report by NBC7 San Diego.

These unlicensed vendors don’t pay taxes and are not bound to comply with health safety rules.

No Jumbo Jacks at the Petco Park Jack In The Box.

HAMBURGERS FOR HOME RUNS: You may have seen the TV commercials for Jack In The Box that run during Padres games. The deal–the day after a game in which a Padres player hits a homer, you can order a Jumbo Jack for free (with the purchase of a $2.99 large drink). Didja know there’s a Jack In The Box concession booth inside Petco Park? It’s on the third level in right field. No, they don’t sell Jumbo Jacks. “If we did that we’d be swamped,” a JITB concession stand worker told me.

DINING IN DOWNTOWN HOODS: It’s become standard practice for a neighborhood’s dining establishments to band together and promote a night of local eating. Example: In June, the 15th annual Taste of Little Italy took place. Especially with COVID in the rear-view mirror, more “Taste Ofs” are coming on line, including: the new Sabor Del Barrio on August 27 and the first Taste of East Village on August 29-30; as well as the 27th annual Taste of Gaslamp on September 9.

Inocente poses at the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony with Daniel Day-Lewis and filmmakers Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine.

FOR ARTS SAKE: One of my favorite interview subjects spanning two decades is Inocente Izucar. Recall that in 2013, the Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Short was Inocente. The film was based on the youthful, unhoused life of this San Diego artist. I’ve been honored to chronicle her career for four different publications. She’s had ups and downs. Working your way off the streets is usually a nonlinear route. Inocente is still painting and on September 9 she’s presenting a show called “15 Years of Inocente.” Her work and story is always worth checking back in on.  SDSUN


This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top