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Sun Wah in Uptown Shut Down, Again, After Rat Droppings Found

By Mina Bloom | February 10, 2015 6:13pm
 An inspector found 250 rat droppings as well as "gnaw marks" in food bags, according to the city.
An inspector found 250 rat droppings as well as "gnaw marks" in food bags, according to the city.
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Courtesy/Ramon Cota

UPTOWN — A rat infestation, among other health code violations, has led the city to again shut down the popular Hong Kong-style barbecue joint Sun Wah in Uptown.

An inspector for the Chicago Department of Health showed up at the Uptown restaurant at 5039 N. Broadway Monday after receiving a complaint from a customer who reported seeing a rat in the restaurant near the bar, city records show.

The inspector found approximately 250 rat droppings on top of food containers and storage racks as well as "gnaw marks" in various bags of rice, dried fish and bulk food items, the report said. 

The Chinese restaurant has a history of health code violations. It has failed health inspections at least eight times since November of 2010, according to city data. 

When an inspector shuttered the restaurant after finding 10 live roaches on the floor of the restaurant in 2013, among other health violations, the restaurant's co-owner, Kelly Cheng, told DNAinfo Chicago that they "just weren't vigilant enough."

Reached Tuesday, Cheng declined to elaborate on the latest inspection at her restaurant, which is known for serving up whole Peking duck that employees carve table-side. 

In addition to rat droppings, the inspector Monday also found 10 or more mice droppings everywhere from under a fish tank to inside the women's bathroom on the first floor. The report said food was not protected from contamination, and an inspector witnessed employees cleaning dirty floors with cleaning product that splashed directly on partially cooked whole pigs, which were hanging from the ceiling about 3-4 inches from the floor.

Also found at the restaurant were open containers of cooked food on the floor of the walk-in cooler and potentially hazardous food kept at improper temperatures, according to the city.

The city has cited the restaurant for the latter violation multiple times, according to city data. Failing to keep foods at proper temperatures increases the risk of foodborne illness caused by bacteria that multiply in improperly stored food, health officials say.

There was also no hot water in the sinks of the men's and women's bathrooms, the city said, and sinks in the kitchen need to be repaired.

It's unclear when the restaurant will be back in business.

"We hope to reopen soon," Cheng said Tuesday.

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