City Trying To Shutter 50th and France Eatery

Minneapolis says restaurant has not paid food inspection fines going back 4 years

A restaurant at 50th and France is in hot water with the City of Minneapolis, and could lose its license Tuesday over what the city says are years of unpaid food inspection violations.

New China Wok  $17,100 in fines, the city says. 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.

"These violations include some going back to 2008," said city spokesperson Matt Laible.

A full accounting of New China Wok's outstanding tickets was not available as of press time, but an agrement between city inspectors and owner Xiu Ben Lan  from 2009 (posted at right) summarizes the cause of $8,800 of fines from 2008 and 2009. In the document, city inspectors say Lan's restaurant had some stomach-turning problems in 2008 and 2009.

The agreement's findings of fact start off noting that after "several violations were noted in recent inspections," city inspectors fined Lan $200 for not controlling "pests." One year and one cracked, unrepaired ice machine door later, another inspection ordered Lan to give New China Wok a "deep cleaning" and Lan was hit with a $1,600 fine for continuing to let pests run rampant. Four days later, city inspectors conducted another inspection, which noted that the business was still open despite not having addressed "numerous violations" that Lan had already been ordered to correct.

In the document, Lan agreed to hire a manager to monitor food safety practices in the restaurant, retrain all its employees in food safety techniques, and clean "all walls, floors, ceilings, equipment, and under all equipment, furniture, dining areas, restrooms, storerooms and installations." The report said that the restaurant also needed repairs done to its floors, walls, and ceilings.

It is not known if New China Wok continued to violate city health code in the ways described in the report, but Laible said the unpaid fines all related to citations issued by restaurant inspectors. According to the city's property information database , Lan has also been assessed around $3,000 in pollution control fees and late payment fees. The database does not note when Lan was given those bills, nor does it say if they have been paid.

As of press time, Lan has not returned Patch's phone call.

The Minneapolis City Council's Regulatory, Energy, and the Environment Committee will take up city inspectors' recommendation to revoke New China Wok's business license at a public hearing at 1:30 p.m.  on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Missy Mauer September 22, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I used to eat there all of the time. :( I never saw any issues and certainly never had any ill effects. However, I will not be going back--even if they are able to fix their problems and pay their fines. Yuck.
Bry Johnson September 22, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I have lived in this area for 15 years and never went there until last night. We first tried to use their online order for pickup but the online portion erred out. Then we tried calling in our order and the phone just rang and rang. Then we went there to order in person for carry out. It took 30 minutes for our order to get ready. While waiting there I would witness the person by the phone pushing the silencer on the ringer and not answer the phone. One of the few tables for dining was used for holding take-out bags and menus. Another table that seats 8 was being used for food preparation. There was an outlet in the dining area missing an outlet cover and lets not even get into how messy the bathroom was. We were very disappointed in the quality of service and quality of food. It was a restaurant I had always wanted to try and was glad that we at least did...until I saw this story. Even if they manage to stay in business after Tuesday, we will never be back. We will stick with The Great Wall and Big Bowl Express for our Chinese cuisine in the neighborhood.
Dave Timmons September 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Minneapolis inspections needs to get on the ball. Something like this should not fester so long. We are talking about food safety, and there can be no wiggle room with this kind of enforcement. They should have been shut down long ago until they met all sanitation requirements.
roger September 23, 2012 at 04:55 AM
we get take out from there all the time!! food is great service is great -- price is right !!! they will make it healthy ( steamed no sauce) if you want-- it will be very sad if they close!!!
l September 24, 2012 at 04:37 PM
city needs to start posting health scores in plain sight, this might get restaurants to get their act together.


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