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Restaurants Reopen After Roaches

***UPDATE WEDNESDAY 12 P.M.***Health officials confirm that both Famous Cajun Grill and Stir Fry 88 have reopened in the Columbia Mall’s food court.Inspectors say the eateries failed a check Tuesday afternoon, but then passed a second check later in the day before reopening late Tuesday night.***ORIGINAL STORY***Two Columbia restaurants remain closed Wednesday following another inspection by the city.ABC 17 News first reported Monday that Columbia health inspectors shut down Famous Cajun Grill and Stir Fry 88 at the Columbia Mall after finding roaches and other serious health code violations. It’s also not the first time there have been complaints filed against the eateries.Employees at both restaurants spent much of the day cleaning. One manager said they were too busy to talk with a reporter.The restaurants will have to clean up 19 critical food violations each before reopening.”A critical violation would be something that would directly lead to or cause food-borne illness,” said Boone County Health Department Public Health manager Kala Gunier. “I wouldn’t say that it’s a weekly or monthly occurrence that a food establishment is closed, but it does happen.”Gunier says random inspections are done at all Columbia restaurants to prevent these very violations. This inspection was the result of a complaint about a roach in an order of Strawberry Chicken over the weekend.Records show Famous Cajun Grill successfully passed two inspections in February and July. Stir Fry 88 passed inspections in April and May. However, back in January, records indicate health inspectors had to make a follow-up visit after finding violation. That was just two weeks before another customer complained. Despite passing inspections, both restaurants have been shut down by health officials in the past. Stir Fry 88 was closed three times this year alone.”We take it very seriously,” said Columbia Mall manager Rusty Strodtman. “We’re already working with all the restaurants to make sure that their compliant with the health department. Sometimes you get new employees or a language barrier.”Strodtman told ABC 17 News he believes a language barrier may have contributed to restaurant managers not complying with the health code. He says all parties involved are working to make sure this never happens again.”The health department has checked other neighboring establishments and didn’t find anything to be concerned with,” said Strodtman. “So we really believe that this was an isolated event with these restaurants.”However, health officials believe this is likely not an isolated event. One customer told ABC 17 News she made a special trip to the Columbia Mall Tuesday, but when she arrived, employees at her favorite restaurant were not serving food.”The whole point of coming to the mall was to eat at the Cajun Cafe, and it was closed down,” said Maries Davis of Moberly. “It doesn’t look unsanitary on the outside where the people get to see.”Davis says after lunch at a different food court restaurant, she already had health concerns about the food court in general.”Yes, [the employee] has on gloves, but he was touching everything,” Davis said. “The doors and picking up trash off the floor and everything, and then going right back to fixing my sandwich.”The restaurant that Davis visited has not been cited by the health department.Public Health manager Kala Gunier says when one restaurant in a food court has an infestation like roaches, often others are affected because there is only a wall separating the two locations.”If one establishment has a problem, it’s likely that all of them could potentially have a problem,” Gunier said. “That is the problem, it’s that when you chase them out of one, they could potentially go to another food establishment.”Officials did check in with other restaurants in the food court, but did not have serious health code violations.”Some of them said they have had to call their pest control operator to come more frequently than what they have in the past,” said Gunier.Gunier says officials will perform a follow-up check of the restaurants before deciding whether they are allowed to reopen.

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