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Friday, August 20, 2010

Chile Lindo 'Open' Again: But You Can't Get In

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Paula Tejeda has a cunning plan...
  • Paula Tejeda has a cunning plan...
The owner of Chile Lindo has found a solution to stay in business 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.

It's been a tumultuous two weeks since Chile Lindo owner Paula Tejeda found out her landlord was being sued by a wheelchair-using man for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not having a ramp into the Mission takeout joint.

A quick recap: The plaintiff, Craig Yates, rolled up to the 16th Street eatery last week for two empanadas, causing Tejeda to give him a piece of her mind out on the sidewalk. (To set the story straight: Tejeda now tells us that she misquoted to us that Yates had referred to the empanadas as "muffins." Instead he called them "buns.") 

Then, after talking with her landlord this week, Tejeda decided to close down the restaurant, instead hitting the streets with a basket of goodies to sell to Mission bargoers.

Yes, she's going out tonight with the basket. But Tejeda says she's decided on the compromise of keeping the eatery open, but keeping the gate over the door closed so no one can physically enter.

Yates' attorney, Thomas Frankovich -- who has established a cottage industry of suing area restaurants for ADA violations -- reminded us earlier this week that Tejeda's move to close down the restaurant would not get her landlord out of the damages for the earlier instances in which Yates couldn't get in. Yet Tejeda's current solution might help avoid future incidents of alleged discrimination.

Tejeda still insists there isn't enough space for a wheelchair to get into her minuscule restaurant, even if there had been a ramp. "There's no room to get the wheelchair into the restaurant. What's he going to do, just go up and down the ramp?"

Still, Tejeda is sounding content with her temporary solution, and even invites Yates back. "If he comes, he will be sold buns, no problem. He can come buy all the buns he wants."

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Lauren Smiley

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