CHELSEA — After the Health Department shut it down, a Chelsea sushi restaurant popular for its low prices plans to give itself a complete overhaul.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygeine shut down Hana Sushi at 211 Seventh Ave. after a Nov. 21 health inspection that found cockroaches, cold food items stored above safe temperatures and food not protected from sources of contamination.
The restaurant's owner now plans to completely renovate their space, which first opened in 1999, he said through an employee who translated. Both declined to give their names.
Before the renvovations begin, though, workers were busy on Monday with getting the restaurant opened as soon as possible. Trash bags sat outside the restaurant as workers cleaned it out to prepare. Health inspectors had cleared them for a 5 p.m. reopening, the employee said.
The employee said that it was difficult for the restaurant to completely eliminate vermin despite bi-weekly visits from an exterminator, since it's just above the 1 Train stop at West 23rd Street. He also said that the restaurant's landlord has delayed fixing a broken pipeline that connects to the station, which allows rodents and roaches to get into the restaurant.
"When [inspectors] see one roach, they think there's a lot of roaches," he said. "We've taken a week to clean it, to replace the kitchen, to pass inspection."
The Nov. 21 inspection netted Hana Sushi a failing grade and a whopping 45 health code violation points, but it wasn't their worst score. Two inspections in 2009 resulted in more than 50 violation points for the restaurant.
The point system tracks total amount of violations, but a restaurant can be shut down if any single critical violation is grievous enough.
Hana's first graded inspection, from Oct. 4, 2010, showed only 8 violation points, giving the restaurant an 'A' health grade.
Restaurant staff could not give specifics on the renovations, but said they would begin soon.