Forest Knolls food truck shut down, pending site-based permits

Teresa Mathew
Tony Carracci served barbecued meats out of his Black Star Pig Co. food truck on a recent weekend. The county has stopped the venture until it gets permission for two locations.  

Four weeks after it first opened, Tony Carracci closed the doors to the Black Star Pig Company food truck and is now waiting for new permits from the county before re-opening at two Forest Knolls sites. Mr. Carracci leased the former Video West storefront two years ago with plans for a barbeque restaurant; he opened the food truck in order to raise money to renovate the space and to build publicity. This appears to have attracted the ire of Bob Foti, the property's former lessor and owner of Video West.  “[Mr. Foti] has been very communicative regarding everything that he feels has been done in violation by Tony,” said Rebecca Ng, deputy director at Marin County’s Environmental Health Services. “So when we issued the mobile food facility permit to Tony and he set up shop, he’s been emailing everybody.” Dave Smail, the county’s supervising environmental health specialist, said he has been receiving daily emails from both sides but “mostly in favor of having Black Star Pig operate.” He said there “appears to be a spite complaint between parties out there.” Mr. Carracci’s existing permit only allows him to operate at farmer’s markets or other special events, not fixed locations—a fact he said was never fully communicated to him. Though he originally planned to park the truck outside his storefront, Mr. Carracci, who said he has worked in food for “about 100 years,” said he couldn’t imagine a better location for his mobile business than outside the Papermill Creek Saloon, where he’s been for the past two weeks. “I’m off the street, there’s parking, there’s a bathroom,” he explained. After the county issued a second notice about the permit violations last Tuesday, Mr. Carracci applied for site-specific permits to operate in front of the video store and the saloon. He estimates the entire permitting process has set him back $6,000. Still, he hopes to be back up and running by the end of the week, selling barbeque, brisket, pulled pork and a host of side dishes. Christina Rossini, a San Geronimo resident who had heard the buzz about Black Star Pig Co., said she was excited to see it open. “We need more local restaurants and food providers in town,” she said. Mr. Carracci called the area a food desert. “I figured I’d bring some diversity to the valley,” Mr. Carracci said. “The community [here] is amazing. I need to be out here for the people in the valley—they need me.”