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.