Jack in the Box after-hours permit suspended after appeal is filed

The neighborhood debate over whether the Jack in the Box on Geary is an appropriate after-hours environment rages on.

On January 24th, the Entertainment Commission approved the restaurant’s request to stay open after hours, with some conditions. Rather than stay open 24 hours, the Commission ruled that Jack in the Box must close between the hours of 4am and 6am.

The Entertainment Commission’s ruling confused many residents, especially those who had rallied via a petition to ask that the Jack in the Box be forced to close from 2am until 4am, not 4am until 6am. It’s during the 2am to 4am hours when nearby residents claim there is the most noise and disruption at the restaurant due to patrons leaving nearby bars when they close.

Unhappy with the decision of the Commission, a resident group has filed an appeal that states, “We do not believe Jack in the Box can operate safely and within rules required by the permit between the hours of 2am and 4am. The restaurant’s small size makes it impossible to prevent excessive noise, traffic and loitering, and statistics unambiguously demonstrate that after hours patronage has caused an increase in violent crime and created impermissible noise and litter in a residential area.”

The appeal was filed on behalf of the Richmond Residents Association and The Chinese American Voters Education Committee (CAVEC). Both are headed up by David Lee, a neighborhood resident and owner of a State Farm Insurance branch located near the Jack in the Box. He also sits on the city’s Recreation & Parks Commission.

Lee was also behind the petition that gathered over 1,500 signatures from residents prior to the January 24 hearing, asking the Entertainment Commission require that Jack in the Box remain closed from 2am until 4am.

So why did the Entertainment Commission ignore the requests of petitioners and even nearby bar owners who want the Jack in the Box closed from 2am until 4am? In a neighborhood meeting just days before the hearing, the SFPD indicated they were in favor of Jack in the Box staying open 24 hours, despite police calls from the business being down since they reduced their hours in early December.

Even more surprising was Commissioner Audrey Joseph’s rationale for approving the permit. “It’s very important that we have food [available late at night]; it helps people not be as drunk,” she said at the January 24 hearing.

One RichmondSFBlog reader called Joseph’s argument “ignorant and reckless”. “You don’t sober up in 30 minutes and you don’t sober up from eating. It might make you FEEL better, but it does nothing to change blood alcohol level,” commenter kayvaan wrote.

Jack in the Box’s status in the neighborhood initially came into question after a tragic incident. In the early hours of Thanksgiving morning, a fight inside the Jack in the Box later led to a brutal hit and run accident on the corner of 9th and Geary.

The victim, 29 year old Albert Bartal, remains hospitalized with serious brain trauma. Bartal’s family started a Facebook page and a website to raise funds for his recovery. According to a post from his mother earlier this week, Albert remains in serious condition. “Albert was re-admitted to Kaiser Sacramento. No fever but he has ‘brain storms’ that cause his heart rate to soar, his body to contract, and he perspires A LOT!!” she wrote.

Police eventually arrested Eduardo Shaparo Esquivel, a 22-year old South San Francisco man who was identified from security footage from inside the Jack in the Box during the initial fight.

Since the incident, it was revealed that the Jack in the Box was staying open 24 hours a day, despite not having the required city permits to do so. As a result, they were forced to cut their hours and close at 2am every night. Then on January 24, the Entertainment Commission approved their permit, but with the condition that they close between the hours of 2am and 4am.

The appeal from Richmond Residents Association and The Chinese American Voters Education Committee will be heard by the Board of Appeals on February 29 at 5pm in City Hall, Room 416. The public is invited to attend the meeting and speak on the issue to the Board.

In the meantime, the permit that was issued on January 24 to Jack in the Box has been suspended. The restaurant will once again be forced to close between 2am and 6am until the matter is settled.

Sarah B.


  1. I am curious, was the 1,500-signature petition separate from the online one at Change.org? The one online only garnered 734 signatures.

  2. @mel – From news reports, David Lee indicated that he was collecting paper signatures as well. So that number comes from the digital (change.org petition) and paper signatures combined.

    Sarah B.

  3. So, if the primary reason for the appeal is the 1500 signatures is does bring to question of potetial overlap between the online and paper version.

  4. What about the gas station where the hit and run actually happened? Is that closed from 2-4am?

  5. The problem is not Jack in the Box being open 24 hours, the real problem is having so few options from 12-midnight on. There are so few places open. If people had more options they likely would not get angry at having to eat at JITB. SF is such a ‘small town’ city.

  6. I agree with sflonglegs. I personally want jitb open 24/7 because we are so limited with our late night eateries. Video cafe is closed because of that douche lawyer.
    And I don’t know about everybody else but scarfing down those greasy ass tacos and fries sure makes me feel better when I’m pissy drunk. I don’t care if it doesn’t lower my blood alcohol level, at least I feel better and dont have to barf over my wheels when I’m driving =)

  7. that petition is straight BS. When I looked at it, every other signature was from Daly City or San Bruno, WTF? free floating nimbys, no thanks

  8. Richmond district Supervisor Eric Mar has seen our petition, heard from his constituents and has decided to stand with the neighbors and formally call for the closure of jack in the box between 2am and 4am.

  9. I believe this article leaves readers with the incorrect impression that this is somehow a “David Lee’ issue.

    It is not.

    This is not a “David Lee” issue — it’s a NEIGHBORHOOD issue that has existed for decades — since long before Mr. Khan ever was involved with the franchise, and about the time David Lee was born.

    David Lee became a regular participant with the Community Police Advisory Board LONG after we had started working to address the problems at the Jack in the Box.

    When our chairperson decided the duties were taking too much time, the members asked David Lee to become chairperson.

    Communities often have serious problems that people complain about for years — but getting people together to do something about it takes a lot of work.

    The attack on Albert Bartals was a tipping point for the residents of our neighborhood. David Lee is responding to the EXISTING concerns and wishes. A group of residents (including me) decided we should circulate a petition — and wrote one. David Lee has experience organizing in communities (voter registration), so we asked if he could post it online — and he offered to organize some people to go out on the streets and ask residents of the Richmond if they would support asking the Entertainment Commission to grant an after-hours permit with the condition that it must close from 2-4 a.m.

    David Lee represents a large group of people — and many people in addition to David Lee have put a lot of time and energy into trying to get the Entertainment Commission to understand our concerns and take them seriously.

    David Lee’s name is the one in the paper all the time about this because the media already knew David from his work registering voters over the years, and his position as Rec and Parks Commissioner.

    Because he has been willing to be the “spokesperson” on this matter, David Lee has been the subject of abusive comments, unfounded speculation about his motives, etc.

    None of that pleasant for David or his family– and I appreciate David Lee for being willing to put himself out there to help us fix this long-standing problem.

  10. Matty:

    Iin reply to your comment about closing the Shell station, you can certainly contact the Richmond station of the SFPD to request stastics on how many calls they have made to the Shell station from 2-6 a.m. in the last two years.

    You could also go out and canvass the neighbors and small business owners to see how many of them find that patrons of the Shell station regular disturb their sleep and their lives with fights, arguments, trash, trespassing, urinating on their buildings/…and how many of them feel so uncomfortable they wlil not walk past the location after about midnight or 1 a.m.

    If what you find indicates that the Shell station is negatively affecting the safety of the neighborhood, I invite you to contact Capt. Vintero of the Richmond station and come to one of the monthly CPAB meetings held at the station, and tell us your concerns so that we, as a community, can try to address the problems.

  11. In the Mission on Mission Street we have many food places open after 2am but there is still a pandemonium on the streets until 2:45-3am. The food is much better then JITB IMHO and it’s a shame JITB is one of the few choices available for you. Much of the issue here is that JITB is so localized in one spot and near 100% residential homes. The JITB supporters could make their own petition, no? Find signups at 1am at night? Until JITB improves their food SIGNIFICANTLY I could not sign it. An entirely new fast food restaurant ($ cheap) would be nice featuring fresh organic if not locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. It would help if they have mission and vision statements that include the wellbeing of BOTH local neighbors and 2am drunkards, albeit in some cases they are one in the same. Any cuisine of the world or yet to be realized would be acceptable. However, I also wonder what the diaspora of drunkards are going to do now after 2am?

  12. Yes, it would be nice if there were more choice — but what do you propose? Forcing a business to stay open when they don’t have enough business to make it worth their while? May I also point out how lacking in logic Ms. Joseph’s statement that JITB MUST stay open so that people have a place to eat — yet mandated that JITB CLOSE from 4 a.m. -6 a.m..

    How many “food options” are available in the Richmond at those hours? And there are plenty of people who go to work very early — people who work in the financial indiustry have to be at work extremely early — so now THEY are deprived of the opportunity to stop and get some breakfast at JITB.

    Such great concern about people at 2 a.m. – -but no such concern for people heading from — or to — work at 5, 5:30 a.m….

  13. Sue, while I no longer live in the Inner Richmond I do visit often and have a strong affinity for the area. It was the first place I ever stayed in San Francisco when I was a teenager visiting. Having said that I just assume see JITB shut down so no one has to eat that filth consciously, semi-uncousciouly or out of necessity. There are much better faster, healthier and as cheap price wise things to eat in the morning. Oatmeal with a banana or raisons for example.

  14. Tell me one good reason to keep drunk people in our residential neighborhood any longer than necessary. You’re defending the right of Jack in the Box to sell a few crappy burgers to drunk people?

    Where’s the greater good in that argument?

  15. How about the right for drunk people who wants a crappy burger? Jitb has a right to sell crappy burger to drunks also, although I agree that it should be sold in a way to not disturb the neighbors in the area.

  16. First, Geary is mixed mostly business, it is not fully residential. Second, the Entertainment Commission made it an issue about it being for “drunk people” with their stated rationale for establishing the late-night permit until 4 a.m., but requiring them to close until 6 a.m. That decision was nonsensical.

    I am not for the roaming of drunks throughout the night in our District. However, I am also for the right of people to eat whatever and whenever they want (there are those who are fully sober that want this). I am also for businesses to be able to determine when they can provide these services.

  17. Here’s hoping the Board of Appeals will have more sense than the Entertainment Commission and close JIB between 2-4. That is when it is most disruptive and is what the community has asked for.

  18. Dear Slobdog,
    Oh, I agree completely. Not my preference — but let people eat what they want to eat. I’ve never had any beef (hah!) against JITB or McDonald’s, etc. (It was Supervisor Mar who waged a national campaign against fast food and McDonald’s. Though he has, apparently, changed his mind, since he stated in front of the Entertainment Commission last month that he frequently eats at the Jack in the Box on Geary.) The Richmond residents have never tried to shut down the Jack in the Box. Nor have we ever ask that it be denied an after-hours permit. We just wanted it closed right when the bars were letting out, in the hope that it would make life safer and quieter in that part of town.

  19. @Sue

    I don’t want people in charge of the financial sector of this country making their decisions fueled by Jumbacos and Bacon milkshakes.

  20. I agree Tyler lol! @ Mel – South of JITB it’s pretty much 100% residential. I’m guessing that’s who’s complaining the most. (?) @ Butthead I agree they have a right to sell crap burgers but I wonder if it’s time as Americans (or San Franciscans) we start to have a standard of quality rather than a standard of profit when it comes to food (and perhaps a standard of behavior if you’re going to get drunkies). So let them them stay open past 2am with an extra tax or ask for higher quality food? Okay, I realize that’s totally impractical and impossible. JITB might consider signage – “Don’t litter on our neighbors” “Keep it down, we have neighbors”. JITB and patrons had some good will (freedom to be open 24hrs) and it was used up. A security guard wasn’t enough. I would love to see SF become a 24hr city but not at the cost of good citizens peace. I don’t want to see Richmond become a ghetto. There’s a man in a hospital with terrible injuries. It’s not RITB’s fault but it’s related to late night encounters and it’s not something I care to see happen again. RITB franchisee needs to work with the neighborhood.

  21. Pardon – Among other errors – “JITB” franchisee needs to work with the neighborhood. Not “RITB”

  22. Good to know slobdog… was wondering if it was supposed to be Rat in the Box (tee hee).

  23. No mention has bene made about the EC looking into the bars that the two men who got in the fight came from… don’t they have responsiblity for providing the alcohol to them?

  24. #23 Susan: I’d think the root of the problem are the bars. There was a report (think it was on TV news) about bartenders who irresponsibly just keep pouring even though the patron is clearly staggeringly drunk.

  25. Dear Susan and Gary,

    Bars do, indeed, have a legal responsibility not to continue to serve patrons who are clearly inebriated (drunk). and they can be held liable if it can be proved that they knowing served a patron who was intoxicated…and illegal activity assocated with drunkeness occurred afterwards.

    I do not know where these two men had been before they came into the Jack in the Box
    Think you can appreciate, however, that sober, there are violent people and people who aren’t. And while some people drink and become “happy drunks,” alcohol will make other people mean and violent and nasty almost immediately.

    If you’ve ever seen a violent and angry =interact in a close space — even when sober — with someone who is a “happy drunk” you know that it is often not a happy combination.

    The Hearth across the street has, according to police records, not been a problem, Neither has the “Would You Believe?” bar.

    Those are the only two bar owners that Supervisor Mar invited to attend the community meeting — I had suggested that he speak to the people at The Abbey, Fizzee’s and Ireland’s 32 as well, but my understanding is that he didn’t.

  26. Dear “slobdog”: I appreciate and agree with your last comment.

    The franchisee for the JITB on Geary Blvd, Mr. Khan, HAS been working to make his locaton safer. He was invited to meet with the Community Police Advisory Board more than a year ago to discuss the problems occurring at his location and began working with San Francisco SAFE to improve it.

    The horrible attack on Albert Bartals has put Mr. Khan in a spotlight that no one would want to be in .

    I believe the best solution at this time is to close the location from 2- 4 a.m. (as do some 1500 other Richmond district residents) location should be closed at 2 a.m.

    Mr. Khan and I disagree on this. But as I have often stated on comment boards here and on other sites, Mr. Khan has always been courteous, professional, and willing to work on these issues.

    He is a business neighbor and I want very much for him to continue to operate his business on Geary. I know I do not speak for myself alone in saying this — that is one reason why the petition did not request that JITB’s after-hours permit be denied, but only that he close between 2-4.

  27. He probably makes most of his business in the entire day between 2-4, so why would he want to close?

  28. why would he want to close? So that no other person in the neighborhood is crticially injured as Albert Bartals was (and still is). Call me old-fashioned, but if someone were critically injured or killed in my franchise — or even on the sidewalk in front of it or in its parking lot — it would be devasted by that.

  29. oops — last line above should read: “I would be devastated by that.”

  30. @ Sue – good points – but in this case the injury didn’t happen at the JITB, but blocks away at a gas station.

  31. Dear Susan, I am well aware that Mr. Bartals was not run over at the Jack in the Box.

    Mr. Bartals got into an argument with a man while at Jack in the Box. Had Jack in the box been closed at 2 a.m., it is highly unlikely that the two men would ever have encountered each other, let alone have been in a fight in a small restaurant where Mr. Bartal was threated with being run over — and then followed down the street and run over. We have all said this many, many times.

    This spot has attracted problems for more than 30 years. That’s personal knowledge because it was a problem when I moved to the Richmond in 1979. Now a man has nearly died as the result of a fight that began there. Do we really have to have someone KILLED before we figure out that we have a problem we need to deal with?

  32. I think it’s wrong to blame jack in the box for the violence, while whose really at fault is the idiot who ran Bartal? Over. I dont think jitb is at fault for the violence, so they shouldn’t get penalized. Only way I see it as jitb fault is if they instigated in the violence which they didn’t.
    I totally agree with Tyler, jitb gets a lot of business around 2-4am,it makes no economic sense to close at that time. It’s like telling Starbucks to not sell coffee in the morning (ok I know it’s not a fair example but u get the point…)
    I don’t think its fair for myself or others who frequent themselves to jitb after bar hours get screwed over for some idiots actions. There is really almost nothing that’s open in the Richmond after 2am. I can only think of lucky penny and subway near video cafe that’s open 24 hrs. We need more late night eateries in this neighborhood.

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