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Haight-Ashbury restaurant sparks sizzling debate over bacon

Alec Hill Contributor
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The San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury has been famous for almost half a century as one of the epicenters of the 1967 Summer of Love and Hippie subculture. According to the Wall Street Journal, however, visitors walking the streets of the renowned district today won’t smell flower beds and marijuana smoke, but rather, old bacon and communal distrust.

The existence of a restaurant called Bacon Bacon divided the district after neighbors complained about the smell of cooking waste from the restaurant.  In May, they succeeded in getting City Department of Health officials to shut down the entire business.

The restaurant seems to have more fans than detractors, however. A petition in support of the restaurant had received more than 3,000 signatures out of 10,000 people in the entire district. The restaurant also has a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on Yelp.com.

The hearing resulted in great news for owner Jim Angelus: The restaurant was allowed to re-open.

Supporters showed up in droves to the hearing, bearing signs with slogans like “Bacon rules!” and “Really? You complained to the cops that you smelled bacon?” according to the Wall Street Journal. On Twitter, one local asked, “C’mon, who doesn’t like the smell of bacon?”

In the face of the reversed decision and even public animosity, nearby home owners are holding onto their opinions. They say that the odor they complained about wasn’t from the actual cooking of bacon, but wafted across their yards from the stores of grease and waste that you get when you cook up to 300 pounds of bacon a week, as Angelus does.

Instead of the smell you might imagine, the byproducts of cooking the bacon necessary to sell meals like the “Bacon Bouquet” ( five strips of bacon drizzled with maple syrup) or the L.G.B.T. ( a B.L.T. with Goat Cheese that references San Francisco’s reputation as a bastion of gay rights) probably smell “a little like paint or wet cardboard,” according to an aroma expert cited by the Journal.

In the end, the debate was quite one sided, at least according to the Bacon Bacon website. Their post claimed that the main opposition on Thursday consisted of only three neighbors.

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