Protest of the Forced Closure of a Mexican Restaurant in Mission Today

Mission hipsters against gentrification of the Mission have worked their skinny jeans into a twist recently with the prospect of American Apparel moving into 988 Valencia Street. Today, Missionites will be protesting another threat to the neighborhood's anticorporate mom-and-pop charm. Landlord Glenda Gutierrez of GG Properties is accused of forcing the closure of a Mexican restaurant on 24th Street after the owners fell behind in their sky-high rent. By the way: The lease forbade the tenants from speaking to the media.

Protest details: Today, Friday, January 30, at 5 p.m. in front of the restaurant Tansitaro Michoacan, 3166 24th Street

Having only opened in August, the austere hole-in-the-wall looked like it never quite got on its feet. Gutierrez didn't return requests for comment about her seemingly draconian terms. She asked for an $18,000 security deposit — in cash — from co-owners Maria Huertas, who used to hawk tamales in the street before opening her own restaurant, and Vicente Mimam. Gutierrez provided them no receipt, according to a press release from the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). She had them sign a agreement in English — a language they don't speak or read —  which she interpreted for them, and included a clause prohibiting them from talking to reporters like us. (The owners, understandably, didn't return phone calls for comment.)

The Mission loves nothing better than to protest gentrification, and Gutierrez' name seems to be getting added to the black list. The protest's press release was entitled “OOPs, she did it again!” Last summer she gave Chili, Lime, & Garlic (CLG) Thai Cafe no option but to leave by doubling its rent to $5,000 a month. Gutierrez charged the new Mexican restaurant $6,000 a month in rent, a price MEDA says would be comparable to swankier Valencia Street. The taqueria's rent broke down to $4.62 per square foot, when MEDA says market price for other eateries on 24th Street is $2.25 to $3 per square foot.

Dairo Romero of MEDA said the Chinese restaurant that will soon be replacing the Mexican one will pay $7,000 in rent.

With the owners moving out tomorrow, activists want to make sure they don't go quietly. “We want to embarrass the landlady,” Romero says. “We want to show this lady takes advantage of the people.”

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