In a blistering critique of Los Angeles’ “soft on crime” policies, Food Network chef and entrepreneur Andrew Gruel has vowed to cease any future business ventures in California until lawmakers address the state’s escalating crime problem.

The “Food Truck Face Off” star took to social media to lambaste progressive District Attorney George Gascon after three men, accused of killing an elderly tourist, were released despite one having an extensive criminal history. Gruel minced no words in his condemnation.

“At this point, it’s criminal on behalf of the DA and officials who advocate for this soft-on-crime insanity. There is no nuance to this; it’s intentional,” Gruel declared on X, formerly known as Twitter. “How many thousands of cases do we need to see to know it leads to more violence? Everyone, left, right, and center, can see this. The goal is to instill fear and destroy communities.”

This public outcry follows closely on the heels of Gruel’s announcement last month where he stated he would not open another restaurant in California due to the state’s rampant crime. Speaking to Fox Business, Gruel made it clear that while he won’t be closing his Rubio’s Coastal Grill chain restaurant, he has no plans to expand within the state.

“I will not open another business in California until they actually fix things on a go-forward basis,” Gruel said during his appearance on “Varney & Co.” He emphasized that the permissiveness towards crime has devastated the social fabric vital for businesses. “Allowing all of these crimes has really ripped apart the social fabric that we know of as the foundation of businesses. And then businesses have had to suffer because of all the crime in their surrounding communities. Business goes down. The regulations have piled up.”

The surge in crime is proving unbearable for restaurant owners who are still grappling with the aftershocks of the pandemic. Gruel described the situation as an “astronomical firestorm,” noting that California’s new minimum wage hikes only compound the issue.

Gruel, who had to shutter 48 out of his nearly 134 Rubio’s Coastal Grill locations by the end of May, before filing for bankruptcy in June, highlighted the financial strain imposed by the new wage laws. Starting in April, fast food restaurants in California are mandated to pay employees a minimum of $20 an hour, up from the previous $16.

“The new minimum wage rule would cost Rubio’s Coastal Grill about $25,000 a year,” Gruel explained. Breaking down the numbers, he added, “If they were paying their workers $17 an hour, and now they’re up to $20. At 30 workers a week, 40 hours a week, that’s only $1,200 extra dollars times three, $3,600. Well, the payroll taxes on that alone will make it at least $5,000 to $6,000 a week. 52 weeks over. That’s $300,000 a year.”

The financial burden has forced restaurants across the Golden State to slash nearly 10,000 jobs in response to the new initiative.

Gruel’s candid remarks and his decision to halt further investments in California underscore a growing frustration among business owners. His stance reflects a broader concern that unless significant changes are made to address crime and regulatory pressures, California’s business environment will continue to deteriorate, driving away entrepreneurs and stifling economic growth.