When Denton City Councilman Kevin Roden first made his pitch to bring Sriracha to North Texas last October, it seemed like an impossible long shot. What chance did a lone municipal official, bearing no tax breaks or economic development incentives, have of convincing the manufacturer of the most delicious condiment on the planet to come to town?
But the momentum is building, people.
Less than two months after Huy Fong Foods was forced to shutter the Irwindale, California factory where it manufactures the spicy, Asian-style chile sauce with the instantly recognizable rooster label, luring the company has entered the realm of state politics.
On Tuesday afternoon, Republican State Representative Jason Villalba of Dallas sent a letter to the company's CEO urging him to abandon regulation-heavy California and relocate to the friendlier environs of North Texas.
"As a public official and a corporate attorney for small businesses, I am extremely troubled by excessive government interference in the operations of private, job-creating businesses like Huy Fong Foods," he wrote. "You have worked too hard and have helped too many people to let government bureaucrats shut down your thriving business."
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For Villalba, the stakes are personal. He is a long-time Sriracha fan who puts the sauce on "everything from egg sandwiches to lasagna," he told The Dallas Morning News. "It's something that's pretty important to my dietary requirements."
Villalba's passion for Sriracha is hardly unique, even among state legislators. So powerful is the sauce that it's inspired a rare instance of bipartisan agreement. State Representative Gene Wu, a Democrat, has also attempted to woo Sriracha, though he says Houston is a "far better home" than Dallas.
In a way, Wu has a point. The smell that inspired the California shutdown would be overpowered by the generalized stench of Houston.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.