Let El Farolito Open in North Beach


El Farolito, the beloved family owned Mexican restaurant, announced plans this summer to open in North Beach on Grant Avenue. But thanks to an anonymous complaint to the San Francisco Planning Department and an outdated Formula Retail ban, the restaurant’s opening is in jeopardy. (Read the full story in Mission Local.)

El Farolito has 12 locations in the greater Bay Area, meaning they are treated as a “chain.” Something is broken if we treat a small, family owned Mexican restaurant the same way as a Starbucks or a McDonalds.  

While neighbors continue to support keeping true mega chains out, this instance clearly shows the current system is broken. It's clear that our formula retail restrictions need reform. Let's be clear: El Farolito is a small business, yet it is being treated as a chain. We should reshape these outdated rules to help fill empty storefronts and allow small businesses that are growing, but are not yet truly chains, to open in North Beach and neighborhoods across San Francisco.

This is particularly important as our economy recovers from the pandemic and we try to fill empty storefronts. This has plagued North Beach in recent years, with storefront vacancies as high as 21% in 2018. We should be embracing new small businesses in our neighborhood, not turning them away.

Please sign below to share your support of this simple reform to allow El Farolito to open!

Petition by
Danny Sauter
San Francisco, California
Sponsored by
San Francisco, CA
Additional Sponsors
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA

From: [Your Name]

The recent saga of El Farolito, a beloved family owned Mexican restaurant, being prevented from opening in North Beach has illustrated just how broken our planning rules are.

Our formula retail restrictions must be reformed to be smarter. They should be able to keep big mega-chains out while allowing small, growing businesses like El Farolito to still open. The fact that El Farolito is treated the exact same way as a Taco Bell would be makes no sense!

We're asking you to reform formula retail laws to help fill empty storefronts and support small growing businesses (like El Farolito).