SAN DIEGO — Selling meals right from your kitchen is now one step closer to becoming reality in San Diego County.
On Wednesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the first reading of a temporary ordinance to allow micro-enterprise home kitchens, also known as MEHKOs, in the county.
It’s a new opportunity for those who would like to open a restaurant, but can’t afford it or aren’t quite ready. Diana Tapiz is one of those people. She’s been cooking all her life and began a startup business, Tres Fuegos, to honor her mother’s memory and her ramen birria recipe.
“She really wanted to share that with San Diego,” Tapiz said. “Here I am today.”
She brought her dream to a commercial kitchen, but quickly realized it was more time-consuming and expensive than she realized.
“We were struggling with employees, everything. We just came to realize the amount of investment we were going to need, we came to realize the amount of time it was going to take to make it successful out of the commercial kitchen, so it was definitely something we weren’t ready for.”
But now she and many other aspiring restaurant owners have a second chance to get a taste what it’s like owning a restaurant with this new “mini-restaurant” opportunity.
“Our dream never died,” Tapiz said. “My dream never died of sharing my mothers great recipe,.
“For the people that cook to be able to do this out of your home is one of the biggest blessings,” Tapiz said. “This is where we cook. This is where we create our recipe. This is where we put in all the love. The love is already in our home, so now we get to put it into the food and share it with the public.”
But with this new opportunity comes with some rules. Operators will be required to get a heath permit and the home kitchens must pass food safety inspections. They’re also limited to serving 30 meals a day, up to 60 meals a week for both in-person or take-out.
If fully approved by the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 26, the ordinance would take effect 30 days later and last for two years. It also has a chance of becoming permanent.