Jack In The Box fights to stay open all night in SF

January 4, 2012 7:24:25 PM PST
Next week, officials in San Francisco are expected to make a decision about a Jack In The Box restaurant. People living nearby don't want it to stay open late at night. It came to a head when a one man was run down after getting into an argument with another man inside the restaurant.

The Jack In The Box on Geary Boulevard and 11th Avenue was open on Christmas Day, but the owner wants to keep it open every day, all day. Now, there's an organized neighborhood campaign and a hearing at City Hall.

For years this Jack In The Box on Geary Boulevard has been open 24/7.

"Let's say you get up at night and you're kind of hungry, I guess you can go to Jack In the box," said customer Milton Reyes.

But some neighbors in the surrounding residential area say this fast food restaurant is a magnet for drunks and troublemakers, especially after the bars close at 2 a.m.

"We need to close Jack In The Box between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. to make sure that the neighbors have a chance for peace and quiet at night," said neighbor David Lee.

Lee has started an online petition to have the restaurant's hours restricted and more than 400 people have signed in just two days. Many of them point to what happened early Thanksgiving morning, when according to police a fight inside the Jack In The Box, escalated into an intentional hit and run at the gas station down the street.

Off duty state firefighter Albert Bartal remains in critical condition. That's when city hall learned the restaurant was operating around the clock without the proper permits and critics are now seizing the opportunity to try to close it for two hours overnight.

"That would make a tremendous amount of difference," said Lee.

Perhaps surprisingly, it's the city's entertainment commission that has jurisdiction.

"The neighbors do have legitimate concerns. The business also is zoned properly and has the right to do that kind of business at that location," said Jocelyn Kane from the San Francisco Entertainment Commission.

A spokesman for the restaurant's owner, Brian Luscomb, said in a statement, "He's hired a security guard. He's trimmed overgrown landscaping. He's installed additional exterior lighting to ensure the safety of his guests and employees."

But the district supervisor, Eric Mar, says they need to go even further.

"I think that a community plan with police, the Jack In The Box taking more responsibility, and neighbors being more organized, that's a better plan for safety in the neighborhood," said Mar.

It could be an uphill battle for the Jack In The Box. There are 120 businesses that have after-hours permits all over the city, from donut shops to cafes.