Marisco’s German Taco Truck was a neighborhood presence from mid-March to mid-August of this year. Parked next to the Pirate Cove café in the Apple Tree Market’s parking lot on Cable and Santa Monica, they offered a delicious variety of Mexican-style seafood. Their $1.00 fish tacos and samples of spicy seafood soup were quite enticing, and nearly every time I passed by, there was a line of dedicated patrons.
Sometime in July, Miriam of Marisco’s told me they were leaving as someone had complained they were interfering with other businesses. Several weeks later, they were still there, so I assumed the complaint had been resolved. Then, in mid-August, they were gone. . .
While waiting to speak with German Marisco, I visited Subway on Cable. A staff member said that despite what locals believed, they weren’t the ones to blame. My second stop was the Pirate Cove café, where the barista said while she could see both sides of the issue, the cart was popular, they were nice people, and had good food.
While I didn’t speak with the Apple Tree Market’s owners, I did contact the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, and spoke with Executive Director, Denny Knox.Even though this was not their jurisdiction, as Marisco’s was parked on private property, she provided me with extensive information.
Apparently, the Apple Tree’s owners believed Marisco’s had the proper permits, and that it was legal for them to be there. Furthermore, due to budget cuts, Knox said that the City only follows up on complaints rather than canvassing the area to determine code violations. Since someone did complain, a letter of finding was issued, which ordered Marisco’s to “cease and desist”.
I then contacted the City where I was referred to the County Department of Environmental Health. The Assistant Director at that office, Liz Pozzebon, stated her department ensures mobile food trucks meet food safety and sanitation standards, which include having restroom access for patrons who will be at the site for longer than an hour. Since there weren’t any complaints on record, she directed me back to the City’s Neighborhood Code Compliance Division. Unfortunately, no one there was available to take my call.
When I spoke with German Marisco and Miriam, I learned that Nico’s – the small Mexican restaurant on Newport right around the corner from the Subway – lodged the complaint. Miriam said they could understand Nico’s position, as they also serve seafood. There had been a rumor that Subway’s owner complained to their landlord (who owns that entire building) that they weren’t making enough money to pay their rent, and pointed to Marisco’s as the reason. Since said landlord happened to be an attorney, he took it upon himself to file suit against the Apple Tree as well as Marisco’s.
Marisco’s is hoping to return. Currently, the Apple Tree’s owners are working with the City to facilitate this process. The truck that was located in OB is now in the Gala Foods parking lot, on Grape St. in South Park, Monday through Sunday, from 9:00AM to 7:00PM.