By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Two days after being shut down by the Department of Health for close to 100 violations, a popular Washington Heights Chinese food restaurant reopened on Thursday.
Empire Szechuan Noodle House, at 4041 Broadway, received 97 violation points on Tuesday for problems including evidence of live mice and roaches, an improper cleaning facility and dirty cleaning tools, and unsuitable food refrigeration and cooking temperatures, according to the DOH website.
The restaurant was shuttered on Tuesday until a follow-up inspection on Thursday showed that owners had rectified the earlier problems. Empire Szechuan received only two violation points in Thursday's inspection.
A restaurant employee who refused to give her name said problems at the restaurant had been resolved.
"We don't have a problem, we are open now and we are good, everything is OK," she said.
And the dismal rating didn't chase away loyal fans like Eddie Duarte, 34, of Washington Heights.
The failing DOH grade wasn't going to keep him from eating his favorite dish: "steamed juicy buns."
"I just won't think about it," he said.
The restaurant is one of a chain of four Empire Szechuan Chinese Restaurants in Manhattan, including two on the Upper West Side at 193 Columbus Ave. and 2642 Broadway, the former of which received 33 violation points during a February 18 inspection, while the latter got 17 points on March 28. Empire Szechuan's 2642 Broadway location had initially received a failing grade of 50 during a March 8 inspection, but requested a follow-up inspection.
The chain's fourth location in Greenwich Village at 173 Seventh Ave. was last inspected in December, when it earned it an A rating for having only three violation points.
Under the restaurant grading system the city introduced last summer, establishments with 28 or more violation points receive a C grade and are reinspected monthly. The Health Department immediately shuts down any restaurant with extremely serious violations.