Surviving North Beach

When Yul Kwon outlasted everyone else on Survivor: Cook Islands, he won a million bucks. What do you do after that? If you’re Kwon, you try to open a yogurt store in North Beach, San Francisco’s traditionally Italian neighborhood—and you waste a good percentage of your cash wading through the permit process.

The problem, says the article in the San Francisco Chronicle, is that Kwon wanted to open an outlet of Red Mango, a chain that serves “tart nonfat frozen yogurt.” North Beach, however, has a strict no-chains policy. When Kwon applied for the permit, there were only four Red Mango dealerships in the U.S. Since North Beach standards define a chain as 11 or more, that was OK. By the time Kwon was well into renovations on his rented property, however, Red Mango dealerships had blossomed to more than 11 locations.

When the city found this out, it pulled the permit. North Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marsha Garland says, “There’s a place for everything. For example, I like Pottery Barn. I’m glad there’s one in the Marina. But I wouldn’t want one in North Beach. We don’t want chains in North Beach.”

Besides, says Caffe Roma’s Tony Azzollini, “There’s already a yogurt place coming in, and it’s run by a family business.”

The tribe has spoken.

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