Why San Francisco won't let a taqueria expand to North Beach

A popular taqueria in San Francisco's Mission District will not be allowed to open a new location in  North Beach. 

The proposed Grant Street location would be El Farolito's 12th taqueria in the city, which is a violation of San Francisco's ban on chains.

Some El Farolito locations are named "El Favorito" and have slightly different signs or branding logos, but after a review, the city determined that the proposed El Farolito on Grant Avenue would still be the business’ 12th location, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

San Francisco rules define a chain as a business with 11 or more locations with standardized branding.

Chains are banned in North Beach, Chinatown and Hayes Valley.  

The city notified the owners on Tuesday but hasn’t heard back, the Chronicle reported.

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There is one possibility for El Farolito's expansion.

If the owners made "sufficient changes" to the proposed taqueria or one of the other locations, such as changing the menu or the signage, it would no longer be considered a chain, Zoning Administrator Corey Teague told co-owner Irene Lopez, the Chronicle reported. They could then, in theory, open in North Beach.

Supervisor Matt Haney, who does not represent North Beach, tweeted: "Let's change this law. El Farolito and Starbucks shouldn't be treated the same."