Mouse Feces Take-Out Restaurant Keeps License
Owner had until Friday to come up with $17,100 in health inspection fines.
Embattled Fulton take-out restaurant New China Wok will get to stay in business, after the Minneapolis City Council dropped its attempt to revoke its license on Friday.
New China Wok’s owner Xiu Ben Lan was staring at $17,100 in unpaid fines for health code violations that stretched back to 2008. To put that in perspective, most city fines start at $250, and each repeated violation in any 24-month period incurs a fine double the original, up to $2,000 per violation.
According to documents provided to Patch by the City of Minneapolis (posted at right), Lan’s restaurant was forced to temporarily close on Aug. 27 after two inspections that month discovered mouse droppings in the kitchen and storage areas, and numerous other health code violations. With fines piling up, and a follow-up inspection in September uncovering still-uncorrected problems, the council moved to shut Lan down. At a hearing before the council’s regulatory committee, Lan and restaurant manager Stephanie Ollila blamed the building’s other tenants for the mice and said they had evidence they had been paying for pest control, according to the Star-Tribune.
On Thursday, Councilmember Elizabeth Glidden, chair of the council’s Regulatory, Energy, and the Environment Committee told her colleagues at a council meeting that Lan had paid his back fines in full. Before Friday’s full council meeting the measure to revoke Lan’s license was pulled off the agenda, citing his fine payments. Lan had until Friday’s meeting to
Patch was unable to contact officials with the City of Minneapolis before publication time to get more explanation behind the decision, but the Southwest Journal quotes Lan’s lawyer saying his client is working closely with inspectors to stay on the straight-and-narrow.
“He absolutely has a kitchen that is in full compliance with the food code and all of the food health and safety standards,” he said. “There’s no reason whatsoever that anybody should hesitate to go eat there.”