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Complete List of Restaurant Closures in Chicago, January - November 2008

Here's a complete list, as reported by the Chicago Department of Public Health, after the jump. Or, get it here in spreadsheet format.

Continue reading "Complete List of Restaurant Closures in Chicago, January - November 2008" »

Restaurant Inspections *and* Results of Hearings Should be Published Online

The New York Times has an excellent story today about food health inspection processes and scoring systems throughout the country: "A Stir Over Plan to Grade New York City’s Restaurants". The news peg is that next year the City of New York is moving from a number score to a letter-scoring system, and they are going to require that restaurants post the score in their restaurants.

There was a ton of good stuff in this article about the current state of inspections across the country. One issue is that raw inspection reports are widely available all over the Web, but the results of hearings-- which is where the restaurant owner has a chance to respond to any violations-- are not. As you can imagine, that rubs restaurant owners the wrong way, as they indictment is always public, but their side of the story is not.

New York officials plan to issue letter grades on the spot after inspections, but — in another sore point for restaurateurs — do not plan to change the process for challenging a finding: a hearing three weeks later at the administrative tribunal at 66 John Street.

To Mr. Bookman, of the restaurant association, “That is a violation of any standard of due process.”

The department acknowledges the issue but does not “see a way to have an instant adjudication,” said Mr. Marcus, the associate health commissioner.

Not fair, flat-out. Public health agencies should publish the results of hearings along with the results of inspections.



Current Construction Projects, City of Chicago, August 21, 2008

Here's a super-detailed document posted today to the City of Chicago Web site:

Lincoln Marsh Natural Area, Wheaton, IL

I take a significant amount of pictures in natural areas in and around Chicago. Lincoln Marsh runs along the Prairie Path between Winfield and Wheaton in the western suburbs of Chicago. Absolutely beautiful. Here's the entire set.

Might Want to Hold Off on Heading Over to Nigerian Kitchen for the Time Being

Spongebob-with-spatula Here's some news from the Chicago Department of Public Health. In case you're in a hurry, here's the best gross-out line: "Today’s inspection was triggered by a person who called 311 to allege that restaurant staffers were using cooking utensils to kill mice. No such activity was observed by CDPH today."

North Side Restaurant Shut Down By City Health Department
Mouse, Cockroach Infestation Unacceptable

A North Side restaurant was shut down this afternoon when Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) inspectors discovered evidence of a mouse and cockroach infestation and other critical violations of the city health code.

Nigerian Kitchen, 1363 W. Wilson, was ordered closed after CDPH inspectors found mouse feces throughout the restaurant, cockroaches crawling on a wall, and wastewater backing up from three clogged sinks in the kitchen.

Additionally, inspectors found a mop sink filled with dozens of whole and cut tomatoes and green peppers---all of which were ordered discarded.

Today’s inspection was triggered by a person who called 311 to allege that restaurant staffers were using cooking utensils to kill mice. No such activity was observed by CDPH today.

The enforcement action was the 44th time in 2009 that CDPH inspectors have shut down a food establishment.

Representatives of Nigerian Kitchen will have to explain themselves at an administrative hearing on March 26 and pay fines expected to total $1,500.

Chicagoans who believe that a restaurant or any other licensed food establishment is operating in an unsafe manner are encouraged to report it by calling 311 or visiting www.cityofchicago.org.

Probably Should Hold Off on Going to Sinbad's For Now

Here's some news from the Chicago Department of Public Health. This news has rats in it.

North Side Restaurant Shut Down By City Health Department
Rat Infestation Unacceptable

A North Side restaurant remains closed tonight after being shut down late Thursday when Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) inspectors discovered a rat infestation and other critical violations of the city health code.

Sinbad’s, 2852 N. Clark, was shut down after CDPH inspectors found more than 300 rat feces in the restaurant’s basement, in addition to a live rat and two rat carcasses.

The restaurant also was ticketed for keeping food at unsafe temperatures (two tubs of tuna salad and crabmeat salad were found at 46 degrees---over the 40 degrees or colder required---which were ordered discarded); evidence of cross contamination (a kitchen staffer was seen cutting raw chicken and then-–without washing his hands---handling ready-to-eat cheese); and for inadequate sanitation of dishes and utensils.

Thursday’s visit by CDPH was a routine, unannounced inspection.

The enforcement action was the 43rd time in 2009 that CDPH inspectors have shut down a food establishment.

Representatives of Sinbad’s will have to explain themselves at an administrative hearing on April 2 and pay fines expected to total $2,000.

Chicagoans who believe that a restaurant or any other licensed food establishment is operating in an unsafe manner are encouraged to report it by calling 311 or visiting www.cityofchicago.org.


If I were you, and I wanted some good food at a restaurant named after a figure in Middle East history, I'd go to Aladdin's-- just around the corner at 614 W. Diversey Pkwy; very good food.

Mecklenburg County FY2009 Budget Reductions

Based on my day job, I receive dozens of email messages per day with super-specific and sometimes inane content relating to 11 cities across the country. I love that.

Today I received a remarkable email from MecklenburgNewsNow@mecklenburgcountync.gov. It had a simple subject line: "Mecklenburg County Budget Cuts Effective Immediately". And it had a remarkable attachment-- a Microsoft Word document accounting for the $20,069,175 in budget reductions that the County is implementing. They list every single Department, and every dollar that is being reduced. They tell, in plain language, how they're going to reduce the budget for that department, and give the name of every single program that will be affected by the cuts.

It is an honest, grown-up document. One that talks in real terms about the decisions that they're making for upwards of 800,000 people. Here's an example of their flat-outedness:

Reducing rehabilitation services for youthful offenders ages 10 to 17 with emotional disturbances, which may impact recidivism rates for untreated youthful offenders. The total reduction is $742,293.

They show exactly where the reductions are incomplete:

The Library was asked to also identify an additional $367,858 in reductions.

They tell you who to call if you don't understand something:

Questions about this document should be referred to Hyong Yi, Management and Budget Director, at 704-336-6945.

Complete text after the jump. Thank you, Mecklenburg County. We need more of this.

Continue reading "Mecklenburg County FY2009 Budget Reductions" »

East Union Food is Shut Down by the Health Department

At least there weren't any cockroaches.

East Union Food, LLC located at 2220 E. Union St, Seattle, was closed by a Public Health food inspector on Feb. 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm for the following violations:

    * Potentially hazardous foods at unsafe temperatures
    * Inadequate facilities to control temperatures of potentially hazardous foods
    * Foods not protected from cross contamination
    * Poor personal hygiene
    * Equipment/utensils not sanitized
    * Toxic items not properly stored

Aroma Snuffed Again

The Chicago Department of Public Health cited Aroma on Randolph last year for allowing smoking. Now they've got them dead to rights on the cockroach front. Again.

Near West Side Restaurant Shut Down By City Health Department Multiple Health Code Violations

A Near West Side restaurant was shut down today after Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) inspectors discovered evidence of a cockroach infestation and other critical violations of the city health code.

Aroma on Randolph, 941 W. Randolph, (http://www.aromaonrandolph.com/) was shut down after inspectors found about 20 cockroaches in the kitchen (under woks and around food equipment) on the main floor of the restaurant.

The restaurant also was cited for waste water leaking from a three compartment sink and running onto the floor of the kitchen in the restaurant’s basement; as well as a failure to provide soap and hand towels at a sink designated for food handlers.

Finally, CDPH inspectors cited Aroma for a poorly maintained outside garbage area. Trash and grease were spotted on the ground around the garbage container.

Today’s inspection was triggered by a customer who called 311 to complain about unsanitary conditions at the restaurant.

The enforcement action was the 42nd time in 2009 that CDPH inspectors have shut down a food establishment.

Representatives of Aroma on Randolph will have to explain themselves at an administrative hearing on March 19 and pay fines expected to total $1,750.

Chicagoans who believe that a restaurant or any other licensed food establishment is operating in an unsafe manner are encouraged to report it by calling 311 or visiting www.cityofchicago.org.

Newly Constructed Apartments for Rent in Harlem

There was a new lottery posted by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development last week. Here's more info:

FIFTH AVENUE APARTMENTS is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for 63 affordable 1- and 2-bedroom housing rental apartments now under construction at 1405 Fifth Avenue, 3 East 115th Street and 6 East 116th Street in the Harlem section of Manhattan. These buildings are being constructed through the New Housing Opportunities Program (NEWHOP) of the City of New York’s Housing Development Corporation and the Cornerstone Program of New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The size, rent and targeted income distribution for the 63 apartments are found in this PDF.

Qualified applicants will be required to meet income and family size guidelines and additional selection criteria to qualify. Applications may be requested by mail ONLY from: 1405 Fifth Avenue Apartments (NEW HOP), c/o Yuco Management, Inc., 295 Madison Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Please include a self- addressed envelope with your request. Completed applications must be returned by regular mail only (no priority, certified, registered, express, or overnight mail will be accepted) to a post office box number that will be listed with the application, and must be postmarked by March 29, 2009.

ABOUT ME

Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.

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EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.

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      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
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      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.