At yesterday's regular meeting of the San Francisco Rec and Parks Commission, one discussion item on the agenda attracted a heavy presence of Missionites. The item had to do with the location of the Blue Bottle pushcart ― a trailer, really. Earlier this year Rec and Park had chosen Blue Bottle to be one of two pushcart operators in Dolores Park. (La Cocina was the other; it'd chosen El Huarache Loco to operate its cart.) But, though the city had already approved permits for the operators, 11th-hour pushback from the community seemed to put vending plans in doubt. The item on yesterday's agenda focused narrowly on where Blue Bottle's trailer should sit.
Rec and Park had recommended siting the trailer near the kids' playground, as far as practical from the 18th Street corridor and its cafes. A community meeting at Dolores Park Church last month made it clear that opposition to park food vending was fierce, at least among some park neighbors. Opponents cited concerns about crowds, trash, noise from generators, and the shortage of bathrooms.
Blue Bottle's James Freeman calls yesterday's meeting contentious, as speakers opposed to park vending occasionally raised their voices. “There's a lot of talk about Blue Bottle being a national chain and that kind of thing,” Freeman says. Last year the company launched a microroastery and café in Brooklyn. And though Blue Bottle took on an investor ― a venture capital firm ― in 2008, Freeman insists he has majority control of the business.