San Francisco

Castro's 'Sweet Inspiration' Appeals Formula Retail Violation [Updated]

[Update: 4/10/18, 6:16pm] Hoodline has learned that Ryan Scott and Ike Shehadeh have withdrawn their appeal.

Planning documents shared with Hoodline indicate that the appeal was withdrawn today but do not state a reason. We've contacted Shehadeh for comment, but did not receive a response.

This week, owners of now-closed Sweet Inspiration Bakery Café will appeal a  ruling that their eatery violated the city's guidelines for formula retail.

The restaurant, which shuttered in February, was compelled to pay a $2,622.14 fee after Planning issued a notice of violation. According to officials, the restaurant illegally used Ike's Place sandwich shop marketing and menu items. 

Last year, chef Ryan Scott and Ike Shehadeh of Ike's Place took over Sweet Inspiration from previous owner Michael Colter. After briefly closing for a remodel, the space reopened on New Year's Day with a new look and menu, and Planning issued a notice of violation a few weeks later.

This was the second time the Planning Department determined that the shop violated local guidelines for chain retailers, defined as any business with 11 or more locations. In 2016, Planning cited the business for selling Ike's products and using the sandwich chain's branding. In both cases, the restaurateurs removed Ike's-branded items and signage to resolve the violations.

A Planning Department brief to the Board of Appeals shared with Hoodline requests "the Board of Appeals uphold the Zoning Administrator’s Notice of Violation issued on January 18, 2018 so that the requisite Time and Materials costs may be collected as required by the Planning Code."

Sweet Inspiration when it was open. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

"Ryan Scott is the one who submitted the appeal back when we were in business there," said Shehadeh, and "it will be up to Ryan if he wants to withdraw."

Scott declined to comment for this story, but Shehadeh said there was no plan to withdraw the appeal. The hearing is set for Wednesday, April 11th at City Hall.

"The notice of violation created a situation where people thought Ike and Ryan broke the rules," said Shehadeh. "If you actually walked in to Sweet Inspiration you would see that it's clearly not attempting to be an Ike's."

January 12th $2 burger promo at Sweet Inspiration. | Photo: Sweet's/Facebook

In the latest case, Planning said in-store promotions encouraged patrons to follow Ike's on social media to receive discounts and that employees wore Ike's Place uniforms.

"Saying that we used social media to tell people if they liked the post they would get a $2 burger is actually not true," said Shehadeh, who also denied that employees wore Ike's Place uniforms. "They said we were wearing uniforms, except for the fact that Ike's doesn't have uniforms."

Planning officials did see three people in the location wearing Ike's Place T-shirts, he acknowledged. "It was my brother, my sister and my best friend," said Shehadeh.

"Those shirts belong to Ike Shehadeh, not Ike's Place, they have a rainbow flag on them and it doesn't have the Ike's logo on it," he said.

"I think what the Planning Department is confusing is Ike's the business and Ike, me, as a human being," Shehadeh added.

Sweet Inspiration's sandwich menu. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

The Planning Department said Ike's Place sandwiches were for sale, but Shehadeh said the previous owner "was serving the same exact menu for over a year and a half and it was okay when he did it but it wasn't okay when we did it."

Even though the restaurant is permanently closed, Shehadeh said the restaurateurs are standing on principle by contesting the violation notice.

"I personally believe it's not within what San Francisco stands for to say you can't talk about something on social media, or you can't wear an Ike's shirt because your name is Ike and you sell sandwiches here," he said.


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