New law allows chefs to run little restaurants out of their homes

Wouldn’t it be amazing if people with a knack for cooking could run a small restaurant out of their home? Well, in the city of Riverside, California, that’s now possible. Riverside recently passed law AB-626 that opens unprecedented doors of opportunity by allowing residents to operate small restaurants out of their homes.

Here’s why this is so important, according to Farley Elliot, who wrote about the law in a long piece for Eater LA.

“Between stay-at-home mandates, high unemployment, and the still-raging coronavirus pandemic, the entrepreneurial opportunities presented by AB-626 could mean tens of thousands of dollars in the hands of local chefs who feed their communities the food they most want to eat. And while Riverside is the state’s only county to fully implement AB-626, the dozens of restaurants that have come online since January 2020 are proving that a path forward for legal home cooking is not only possible, it’s needed.”

According to Elliot, home restaurants could be the next big thing. It presents economic opportunities as well as an exciting new way to bring communities together. Plus, who doesn’t love a good home-cooked meal?

Just imagine craving Mexican food and being able to visit Lucy Silva’s house, a single mother of three grown children, who is serving Mexican comfort food at six outdoor tables under string lights and umbrellas in her backyard. Or if you’re in the mood for some Southern soul food, you can eat at the home of Evon McMurray, a grandmother originally from Louisiana who cooks up decadent plates of gumbo, jambalaya, fried chicken, smothered potatoes, and pork chops. 

Not just anyone can start running a restaurant out of their home; there’s still a lengthy licensing process that home cooks must undergo in order to get a permit and there are rules that must be followed. For instance, there can only be one full-time employee and gross annual sales must not exceed $50,000.

So far, AB-626 has been an absolute game-changer for the people of Riverside. How long will it take before this law gets taken up nationwide?

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