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Sean “Dewey” Doyle set up his Roxburgers food cart at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Walnut Lane for just over a year, enough time for his eponymous dish to gain a solid reputation.
“It’s right on the way to where I take my kid to school,” said WM Akers, a Philadelphia crime novelist and regular customer. “I thought Roxburgers was a smart name, and the burger is really phenomenal…just a simple, straight forward, really, really good burger with caramelized onions.”
Akers described Doyle as a friendly guy who makes small talk with everyone. But after Doyle received Roxburgers through the depths of the Covid pandemic last winter, the cart is struggling to survive this one.
Difficulties with some Roxborough High School students changing buses around the corner led to Doyle starting to close an hour earlier than he wanted.
“Right now I stop at 2 p.m. because that’s when the high school kids go out, and it’s a little too dangerous,” Doyle said, adding that he sees other businesses at proximity.
Doyle estimates the lost hour costs him about $100 per day of sales. “Maybe $100 doesn’t seem like a lot to a lot of people,” he said, “but it’s my livelihood.”
The danger is not theoretical. He recounted a recent incident, when he said a group of about 80 children got off the Route 9 bus and a commotion started. One had challenged another to a fight, Doyle said, but ended up on the losing side of a pile.
“They just started beating what-you-know – what came out of it,” Doyle recalled. “I can hear the punches because they’re within a foot or two of me. I could hear them kicking him in the stomach. I could hear them stomping on him and hitting him. “
In a move he would come to regret, the basket operator got involved.
“I made the mistake of shooting one of the kids, at which point… three of them turned around and came after me. They came from behind and were kicking and punching me. Doyle escaped and scrambled into Dunkin’ donuts of nut lane “I asked them to call the police, but they didn’t call.”
When Doyle contacted the Philadelphia Police Department after the fight, the response was less than helpful, he said.
“They basically told me there’s nothing they can do about it,” he said, explaining that police told him to contact the principal of Roxborough High School, located about a mile and a half. “They can’t get the local kids. There is no one who has been willing to lay down the law and apply any type of punishment.
If it happened closer to the high school, district security officers could have handled things, according to Christina Clarke, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia School District. Anything that happens on school grounds, or near school grounds is under their jurisdiction, she said.
Asked about the situation, a PPD spokesperson said that even when students are involved, anything that happens outside of school grounds falls under their jurisdiction, including acts of theft and robbery. aggression.
Meanwhile, Doyle tries to figure out what’s next for RoXburgers.
He currently addresses Saturdays for the weekly Philadelphia Disc Golf Strawberry Weekly Meeting. It is also booked for private events on certain evenings. But it’s not the same as a regular business on a busy corner.
“I’m trying to figure out if I can keep working,” Doyle said, “or if I can find other places to make up for my lost hours here.”