A France Avenue restaurant with a history of food code violations may lose its license soon if the full City Council agrees with the decision made by the council's Regulatory, Energy & Environment Committee on Monday.
Twin Garden, Inc., doing business as New China Wok, has amassed $17,100 in unpaid Environmental Health Division citations. The restaurant, registered in 2005 and located at 5033 France Av. S., has been cited for food-code violations since at least 2008. Fines double when violations are not corrected before a subsequent inspection.
Frequent inspections have cited the restaurant and owner Xiu Ben Lan for violations including failure to control pests, keep the kitchen clean and sanitary and maintain a food-safety management plan.
An Aug. 4, 2011 inspection alone found 30 violations, 10 of which were considered critical, or more likely to cause foodborne illness. The city shut down the restaurant until violations could be addressed. It was closed for two weeks, Ben Lan said.
Inspector Mohammed Yusuf found that Ben Lan “continuously failed to understand and demonstrate understanding of the food code requirements and responsibility of the food manger in the establishment. In each and every inspection in the last two years, [Lan] blames violations [on] the actions of his kitchen employees and in each one of these inspections I explained to him that he’s responsible to train employees and supervise them regularly,” according to an inspection report. Lan was ordered to employ a new certified food manager before the restaurant re-opened.
Other violations that day included “slimy mildew” inside the ice machine, storing and thawing hazardous food at room temperature, storing bulk dry food and single-serve containers in an area littered with mouse droppings, mouse droppings on the “hot [food]-holding” table and no sanitizing solution set up or in use at the time of the inspection.
Lan said that a number of inspections have come up with no violations
Because New China Wok is "only a small business," he doesn't have the money to pay his citations, Lan said. He had to borrow money to help a family member and is now cash strapped, he said. The city told him he has until October 5 to pay. Ben Lan hopes to borrow money from friends or family or he will have to sell his business, he said.
The council committee voted to recommend revoking New China Wok's license. The next City Council is scheduled for Oct. 5.