San Fran: More JapaCurry Parking Space Drama Today

Jay Hamada with the mysterious meter-feeding Anna.

By John Birdsall | Editor | SFoodie

Jay Hamada with the mysterious meter-feeding Anna. photo by John Birdsall

Just when you thought it couldn’t, the JapaCurry truck saga just got stranger.

Today’s Wednesday, the day JapaCurry has a permit to park on Mission at New Montgomery. Owner Jay Hamada told SFoodie that, to ensure that Harvest and Rowe’s Alison Rowe (or some other party) wouldn’t block one of the spaces he needs to maneuver his truck to the curb, he hired two people to sit in their cars and hold the spaces. “Just in case ― I had a bad feeling,” Hamada said.Trouble is, there are four metered spaces on that stretch of Mission, including one for commercial loading. Hamada says that a blue pickup truck was parked in the loading zone, which would have prevented JapaCurry from pulling up to the curb, except that the third space ― the one not occupied by his paid curb-sitters ― happened to open up at that moment. A woman Hamada had never seen before (i.e., not Alison Rowe) came to feed the meter in yellow zone where the blue pickup was parked. Hamada says he asked her why she was feeding the meter, and if somebody had asked her to feed it. She told him that some restaurant owner she didn’t know had asked her to do it ― something about a farmers’ market and a catering company ― and then scurried off.

After lunch Hamada went to Harvest and Rowe to try to find Alison Rowe to talk about what’s been happening. “I was trying to find a solution,” Hamada said. Well, well, well: Who should be in the restaurant but the woman who’d been feeding the meter on Mission; Hamada says she seemed surprised to see him. She said her name was Anna, described herself as a friend of Alison Rowe’s, but said that Rowe was busy talking to someone else and couldn’t speak with Hamada. He didn’t stick around.

JapaCurry's line at 11:30 Wed. morning. photo by John Birdsall

SFoodie called Alison Rowe to ask about the blue pickup and the woman named Anna. Rowe said she didn’t arrive at Harvest and Rowe today until 2 p.m. “I don’t have any employees that are involved,” she said. “There are plenty of restaurants in the area, and I’m very sorry, but I specifically stayed away from Downtown until this afternoon so I wouldn’t be accused of being involved in anything.”

Rowe said she doesn’t have any employees named Anna, though she does have a friend with that name who sometimes comes Downtown to visit.

Did her friend Anna come Downtown today? Did Rowe see Anna at Harvest and Rowe today?

“I have not seen Anna,” Rowe said. But as far as she knew, did Anna come to the restaurant today? Rowe paused. “I don’t know what else to say. We are not involved with Mr. Hamada.”

The drama may or may not continue tomorrow, when JapaCurry is again scheduled to park on Mission Street. Meanwhile, SFoodie hasn’t yet gotten a call back from Police Department permits officer Alfreddie Steward, who issued JapaCurry’s permits in the first place. Nor did we hear back yesterday or today from Regina Dick-Endrizzi, director of the city’s Office of Small Business, who originally told us she’d taken an interest in resolving the conflict between Rowe and Hamada. Looks like so far, the City is letting Hamada and Rowe fight this out by themselves.

Oh, and one more thing. All the controversy doesn’t seem to have hurt Japacurry’s business. Just after 11:30 a.m. today, the line for JapaCurry stretched 24 long ― almost exactly the same number of people queued around the corner, on the sidewalk in front of new lunch phenom Sushirrito.