It came right down to the wire, but New China Wok restaurant at 5033 France Av. S. was able to fend off a license revocation late last week. The business owed the city $17,100 in fines for food-code violations incurred over several years. Owner Ben Lan’s son paid the fines a couple days before the City Council was to vote on the revocation. The City Council withdrew the revocation from the Oct. 5 agenda.
Lan’s wife, Stephanie Ollila, who recently became the restaurant’s night manager said the years-long issue of violations and citations was exacerbated by communication issues. Lan’s native language is Mandarin. From now on, the restaurant will take advantage of the city’s offer to provide a translator during inspections, Ollila said.
For the time being he will continue to employee an independent inspector he hired about a month ago to advise him, Lan said.
He is happy to still be in business, Lan said, but laments the publicity the proposed revocation generated. He said that long-time customers call him or stop in to ask “what’s going on.”
Lan said his food is very fresh, very good and nobody has ever gotten sick from eating at the restaurant in the seven years it has been open.
Lan is the restaurant’s only cook and works seven days a week. “I work hard but make no money. But we still keep going,” he said.