Avenue 26 Tacos, a popular taco stand tucked in a small street between the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Cypress Park and Lincoln Heights, is back in business after being raided late at night on Thursday, Oct. 19.
According to Eater, witnesses described those conducting the raid as “cops.” After the original story broke, the LAPD and L.A. County Sherrif’s Department denied any involvement in the raid. Eventually, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health took responsibility for the raid. The taco stand is serving up tacos once again after being closed just over 48 hours. Here’s what we know.
Late at night on Oct. 19, then-unknown authorities raided and dismantled Avenue 26 Tacos.
— Eater LA (@eaterla) October 20, 2017
The swift raid removed the very popular taco stand in Los Angeles. A witness to the raid said “cops” were everywhere, according to Eater‘s original report.
Loyal patrons expressed their grief over the loss of an L.A. staple.
Just found out the Avenue 26 taco stand got raided last night & my heart is crying right now
— alex (@LexxSamplez) October 21, 2017
Many Avenue 26 Tacos diners took to Twitter and Instagram to express their outrage over the closure of Avenue 26 Tacos.
After news of the raid spread throughout Los Angeles, the LAPD released a statement denying their involvement.
We are aware of social media posts regarding enforcement activity at a local taco stand. We can confirm no #LAPD involvement in this matter
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) October 21, 2017
Later, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced it conducted the raid.
According to a statement provided to Eater, the Health Department said the taco stand was shut down after someone filed a complaint about a “non-permitted food operation.” Here is the statement in full:
On Thursday, October 19, 2017, investigators from LA City Street Services contacted LA County Street Vending Program to assist with an investigation of a non-permitted food operation complaint at Avenue 26 and Humbolt Street, Los Angeles. Upon arrival, LA County Street Vending investigators observed an abandoned, non-permitted taco stand. As a result the food and taco cart were confiscated.
According to the L.A. City Street Services website, they have an Investigation and Enforcement division that is described as a “specialized law enforcement agency.”
The police officers conducting the raid who were described by witnesses could be officers from the Investigation and Enforcement division. “Illegal vending” is listed as one of the city ordinances that are enforced by the division:
“District Investigators are primarily responsible for public health and safety related to their duty to protect public property and reduce blight in our community by pro-actively enforcing municipal ordinances and laws pertaining to illegal dumping; illegal signs; obstructions in public right-of-way; illegal vending and storm drain violations.”
People are calling on the city to legalize street vending to avoid another incident like the one that took place at Avenue 26 Tacos.
— Evan Kleiman (@evankleiman) October 23, 2017
“We didn’t want to take a chance in further assisting with the division of families, should some of these individuals get caught up in the court system because of a small infraction,” City Councilman Jose Huizar, a proponent of legalizing street vending, told NPR.
The taco stand closed temporarily but social media posts show that it’s back.
— Highland Park HLP (@HighlandParkHLP) October 21, 2017
It appears the raid by the health department didn’t do much to slow down the business. Loyal patrons of the taco stand showed up as soon as the stand opened and, according to social media, they are seeing the same success now.
You just can’t keep a good taco stand down, especially in Los Angeles.
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