Two restaurants closed after health violations

  • By Alex Parker
  • Staff Writer
  • February 16, 2009 @ 5:07 PM

Two Chicago restaurants remained closed today after city health inspectors cited them for having mouse droppings in their kitchens.

Einstein Brothers, 5318 N. Clark, was shut down on Friday.

Chicago Department of Public Health spokesman Tim Hadac says the restaurant failed an inspection on Feb. 6  because of mouse droppings, and was ordered to fix the problem. Friday's inspection found additional mouse droppings, he says.

Hadac called the violations “a significant problem.”

Also closed was Art Zone Café, 3238 W. Bryn Mawr.

Inspectors allegedly found mouse feces throughout the restaurant, including on top of cookware, according to a news release. Art Zone was also accused of violating Chicago’s Clean Indoor Air Ordinance after inspectors found cigarette butts in an ashtray within the premises.

The phone at Art Zone rang unanswered this afternoon.

Einstein Brothers' spokesman Chad Gretzema says he hopes an inspection tomorrow will allow the restaurant to reopen; the Presidents' Day holiday prevented inspectors from visiting the site today, Gretzema says.

He says the company is "disappointed" with the inspection's results, but doesn't think customers need to worry about health violations.

"Since the time the restaurant closed, we've cleaned the restaurant from top to bottom, and we've seen no evidence of pest activity," Gretzema says. "In this case, we took immediate action to rectify any of the issues that they found, and really aggressively address any possible entry areas for pests."

Gretzema says Einstein Brothers restaurants are inspected monthly by pest control companies. He was not aware the restaurant failed a Feb. 6 inspection.

Hadac says the restaurant will remain closed until it passes another inspection.

Einstein Brothers’ representatives must explain the situation in a city administrative hearing set for March 26. The company may also face a $500 fine.

Daily News Staff Writer Alex Parker covers public health. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 17