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Sun Wah Reopened After Failing Two More Inspections With More Violations

By Adeshina Emmanuel | December 9, 2013 2:21pm | Updated on December 9, 2013 2:45pm
 A city inspector last week found more than 50 live roaches in the restaurant, which recently reopened.
Sun Wah Open, But Failed Two More Inspections
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UPTOWN — Sun Wah BBQ is back in business in Uptown after the city's Health Department shuttered it for nearly a week for various food code violations.

Before it reopened, however, the restaurant at 5039 N. Broadway failed two more city inspections last week before finally passing inspection Friday, according to the city.

Co-owner Laura Cheng said Monday that her focus was "to get the restaurant back where it needs to be."

She acknowledged that Sun Wah has had problems in the past, but said "It's a large place."

"We're always looking for improvement," she said.

Cheng, however, declined to discuss what Sun Wah would do to prevent more health code violations since reopening Friday night. She also declined to explain how things had gotten so bad at Sun Wah.

"Yes, a lot of people were upset, and yes a lot of people still support us," Cheng said. "Whatever I say isn't going to make people happier. I have to prove it to you guys, and that's all."

On Nov. 25, an inspector found more than 10 live roaches on the floor inside the restaurant's heater room, "litter and dead insects" inside employees' lockers, and cooked meat held at temperatures lower than recommended to ensure consumers' safety.

On Dec. 2, the same day it was officially closed for those infractions, an inspector upgraded the pest-associated violations from "serious," to "critical," after finding "over 50 live roaches (adult and smaller)" in a food-preparation area inside a cabinet under cooking equipment, according to the inspector's report.

There were eight live roaches inside an ice machine, and the inspector also observed "over 20 rat droppings," near a rear exit, behind employees' lockers, according to the city.

The inspector returned on Thursday and found no rat droppings or live roaches — but did discover "dead roaches throughout the premises," the report said.

On Friday, Sun Wah finally passed a city inspection and was given permission to reopen.

Some people responded with disgust when they first heard about Sun Wah's closing last week and vowed to never set foot in the Hong Kong-style barbecue joint again.

Other people, however, lamented the closing and were eager for the joint to reopen and serve up more of its famously delicious roasted Peking duck.

The complaint that led to the Nov. 25 inspection that eventually closed Sun Wah was filed by someone who alleged that eating barbecue at the restaurant gave nine people extended bouts of diarrhea.

Sun Wah co-owner Kelly Cheng, Laura Cheng's sister, admitted to DNAinfo Chicago last week: "We just weren't vigilant enough" when it came to keeping the restaurant up to code.

At the time of its closure Dec. 2, Sun Wah had been inspected by the city 11 times since 2010 and failed five of those inspections. Now, it's failed seven out of 14 inspections since 2010.

The restaurant was also shuttered in 2010 for health code violations.

A city spokesman wouldn't say if Sun Wah would be under more scrutiny from the city in light of its history of serious health code violations. 

But the spokesman wrote in an email: "The frequency of inspections are based on level of risk to consumers."

Restaurants such as Sun Wah, which are considered "level 1" with the highest level of risk, "are inspected at least once a year," according to the city.

The spokesman said restaurants "can be inspected additionally based on either complaints from residents via 311 or our Twitter app or issues identified in previous inspections."