SF Weekly staff writer Lauren Smiley files the latest report in what's been a miserable couple of weeks for Chile Lindo's Paula Tejeda, the empanada maker who closed her tiny shop on 16th Street Wednesday. The shop is too small for wheelchair access, plus there's a six-inch step-up, so chair-using patron Craig Yates instigated a lawsuit against Tejeda's landlords for failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. What makes this story less palatable than a scorched empanada, though, is that Yates' attorney, Thomas Frankovich, has a long history of nailing mom 'n' pops for being out of ADA compliance. His MO smacks of sleaze.
Today, Tejeda came up with a work-around: Nobody gets in. Smiley:
The owner of Chile Lindo has found a solution to stay in businesses while not violating the law by keeping folks in wheelchairs out: Now you can't come in either. The cooks will hand you your empanada through the gate and everyone can eat outside.
As reader reaction to our previous posts suggests, there's no easy solution here. It's a story that pits a struggling business owner against a patron treated like a second-class citizen. Again, we offer up Jonathan Kauffman's reminder that, while it certainly sucks to be a small business ― especially a small food business ― in San Francisco, the ADA is a good thing. Honestly.