The city asked — or ordered — nearly two dozen restaurants to close temporarily for health violations between Jan. 16 and Feb. 1.
Repeat violators included Opa, at 13th and Sansom Streets, which missed out on Restaurant Week after failing multiple consecutive inspections. It was allowed to reopen on Monday. Also shuttered multiple times was South Garden Chinese, at Second and South Streets, which was closed for a week as it battled rodents and roaches.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, at 39th and Walnut Streets in West Philly, was shut for not having a food safety certified person present. If that key player, who ensures that basic safety standards are being met, is found to have gone missing once, the city usually just issues a warning. But with multiple offenses, the city asks the restaurant to close. According to the health department, there was no food safety person at Chipotle on Jan 24, as well as March 18, and May 25, 2016.
Other eateries were cited for more colorful offenses. Indeed, one recent report included a veritable Noah's Ark of unsavory violations (flies, fish, mice, cat feces and dead crabs) that brought the hammer down on a market in Southwest Philadelphia.
Top Star Chinese Restaurant
6708 N BROAD ST 19126
29 violations, 9 serious.
Mouse droppings along floor perimeters in kitchen and storage areas; food safety certified person not present; open poison in prep area under sink and grill; mouse droppings in food prep and rear storage area; food held at hazardous temperatures; uncovered ice cream inside freezer; soap, paper towels and handwash reminder sign not available at sink; accumulated grease on cooking equipment; food spills and other debris on shelving. Asked to temporarily close until violations addressed on Feb. 1.
Liberia Waterside Market
6900 ELMWOOD AVE 19142
23 violations, 11 serious.
Flies on fish on top cooler stored next to mouse feces; cat feces in rear area; dead crabs on loading dock; person in charge not present; open employee beverage in food prep area; no hot water or soap at handwash sink; fish stored at hazardous temperatures; insufficient hot water. Asked to close temporarily on Jan. 27.
The Health Department visited more than 500 eateries and food retailers between Jan. 16 and Feb. 1. Every inspection is generally regarded as a "snapshot in time," and not necessarily a reflection of day-to-day conditions. Some snapshot albums are more attractive than others. Most violations were fixed immediately on site.
If you suspect you have contracted food poisoning or have a sanitation complaint, contact the health department at 215-685-7495.