Why neighbors are complaining about this Central District taco truck

(Image: Taqueria Sotelo)

Central District real estate investor and entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg has sounded the alarm — Taqueria Sotelo could lose its longtime home on E Union because of a complaint to the city.

The technical issue, according to Eisenberg, has to do with pedestrian zones and vehicular zones as marked in property plans. Eisenberg said there have also been complaints the Taqueria Sotelo food truck he’s let park on his 21st and Union property is aesthetically unappealing.

We are working to talk with the owner of the Taqueria Sotelo truck to learn more.

City of Seattle permit and complaint records show the property was also subject to a complaint in late October about advertising signage that went up on the old service station property a few blocks from Eisenberg’s Uncle Ike’s pot shop. “The 2 pole signs and 1 wall sign advertising Uncle Ike’s require permit(s) & inspections or removal,” the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections complaint entry reads.

Eisenberg tells CHS he isn’t sure if the issues with the food truck have any relation to the sign complaint.

“We work with food trucks all the time to point them toward the best solution for parking off street,” Bryan Stevens, a city spokesperson, said. “Typically, if it’s parked in a parking spot on the property then a permit isn’t even required. Other options are often available, but may require a permit. Issues never revolve around the truck itself, but rather where it’s parked.”

The signage complaint gives Eisenberg until November 15th to comply.

“They only act if they get a complaint,” Eisenberg said. “As a property owner, I’m forced to kick them out which sucks. The Central District doesn’t exactly have a lot of food options unlike other parts of the city.”

Eisenberg acquired the former service station at 2015 E Union in 2015 with plans for future possible development.

Eisenberg says people have previously said they wished 2015 E Union taco truck looked more like the food truck setup at neighboring beer hall Chuck’s.

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21 thoughts on “Why neighbors are complaining about this Central District taco truck

  1. The Ike’s signage is far more aesthetically unappealing than the taco truck. For that matter, this article seems to be about complaints towards the signage, despite the headline referring to Taqueria Sotelo.

    I am not a fan of how the neighborhood is littered with glowing advertisements for Ike’s. Trust me, the gigantic neon fixture at the glass store is going to get the attention of anyone trying to find it. Do you really need a grinning cat staring down at everyone enjoying a beer on the patio at Chuck’s?

    • Ian,

      I am going to take your comment very seriously.

      I am adding a voice against your abundance of signs. They are obnoxious, adding nothing to the neighborhood. Also, 1-800-GET-DRUGS is, all things considered (even before the history of 23/Union is taken into consideration), is tacky at best.

      +1 on removing the signs by Chuck’s
      Bonus on removing the annoying “hey stoner” sign

    • +1 on disliking the proliferation of Ike’s signs. There are just so many! Not fond of the Hey Stoner sign either. I am for the Taco Truck though.

    • Ok, as a semi-neighbor (6 blocks away) I’ll chime in too. The 1-800-GET-DRUGS sign is tacky. I hate to say “think of the children!”, but well— yeah— think of the children. Do we really want to equate pot to all the other crap kids can get into? To get to legalization we said that pot isn’t harmful, yadda-yadda-yadda. We now lump it all into “drugs” anyway? Not a good message.

      The “hey stoner” doesn’t bother me.

      I like the taco truck, but I’m not an immediate neighbor. So I won’t weigh in there.

  2. Really? I can’t imagine it’s neighbors complaining about the taco truck. We like having that taco truck! Also, the placement vis a vis the sidewalk and parking lot is exactly the same as the food truck placement at Chuck’s. Maybe one of Ike’s competitors? ;-)

  3. I’m with Chris. 1-800-GET-DRUGS is, all things considered (even before the history of 23/Union is taken into consideration), is tacky at best, as is the inappropriate “hey stoner” sign.

    The food truck doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it’s great on that corner…is there some reason that they can’t park in one of your parking spaces in the lot, Ian?

  4. I am a neighbor living just down the street. We love the taco truck. From an aesthetic point of view – It’s a basic food truck with a small sign. Jeez people. I can’t IMAGINE who would complain about this?! It activates what is usually an empty lot. It is affordable and tasty. Something is amiss here. I love how the Central Cinema uses the north side of their marquis. I’d rather see something like that or no sign at all in the empty auto repair shop lot.

  5. I wholeheartedly disagree with most of these folks. I actually like that Ike’s has cleaned up a lot of the broken and abandoned signs and put up signs for an actual functioning business. 1-800-GET-DRUGS? I might not have gone that route myself, but I genuinely don’t mind. We also have a friend who hand makes neon signs as a hobby, and as a result, I appreciate them. I don’t mind them at all, I think they’re kind of cool. Finally, I can’t for the life of me figure out what complaint people have about the truck. It’s the most aesthetically appealing part of that property (which is otherwise an abandoned gas station). The people who run it are kind, the food is great, it’s cheap, and it’s convenient. The neighborhood should support having them here, and if there’s something unappealing, maybe we should all chip in and put a little fence around it or something. We live in a city, not an aggressively manicured suburb, friends.

  6. I also like the taco truck… They are nice people and the food is good. This article would be much more useful if it was less about Ikes and more about what we in the neighborhood could do to support the truck and it’s owners…

  7. Seeing the photo with the taco truck surrounded by construction workers makes me wonder if a lot of the success of food trucks is because of all the development going on in Seattle. What’s going to happen when most of the construction is finished? Will that day ever come?

  8. +1 for taco truck
    -1000 for the rediculous amount of Uncle Ike’s signs, especially driving away from the pot shop.

    I’m sure the tourists love it though…

    (Also a neighbor)

  9. +1 for taco truck. Can’t even begin to imagine what the issue is… especially if the Chuck’s trucks are supposedly fine. Both are welcome by my family.

    -1 on the “hey stoner” and “1-800-GET-DRUGS”. The rest I think are fine. Just these two are a bit like having one of the fan driven flappy guys things (think used car lot) with “weed” written on it… just crosses some sort of line.

    Ian, I think Ike’s and your other properties have been run truly professionally and have had a very positive impact on the neighborhood. They are, and always have been, clean, well maintained, well lit, and have cameras.

    As far as the signs, it’s you and your partners biz to run within the bounds of ordinances, and maybe “hey stoner” and “1-800-GET-DRUGS” are withing those limits, but I think if they were gone it would make a whole lot of people happier.

    So nice to not to be talking about dodging bullets to mail a package and to now to be moaning about a couple signs. Change has been a long time coming.

  10. The “1-800-GET-DRUGS” sign was removed.

    The “get drugs” sign was on your black stretched limo parked on your property, next to the gas pumps! The sign was removed after the black limo was spray painted. I am sure that you are aware of the sign that WAS on one of your cars. If anyone knows where it is, it should be you, or whoever cleaned up the graffiti from the car.

    I live around the block and we love the taco truck. Much more affordable than the overpriced food trucks at Chucks. The taco truck is well run, clean, and the owners are very nice. I don’t have any complaints with the taco truck.

    Ian, would you please see to it that the storm drain on the west side of the driveway to the pumps is cleaned. It has been overflowing every time it rains and sometimes oily water comes out. This drain has been obstructed for many years. It has been clogged since before you “liberated” that property.


  11. The taco truck should stay. The people who work there are friendly, the food is very tasty, quick, and available day and night. Living a half block away, we rely on it multiple times per week when we need a quick, healthy meal. As a homeowner that is supposedly worried about such things as how a taco truck (or something else) can be aesthetically unappealing, count me as someone who finds it very appealing. Aesthetically and otherwise. It activates (all day long) a street corner that otherwise is vacant.