5 Things It Takes to Shut Down a Restaurant (and What it Takes to Reopen)

One of our favorite restaurants cleaned up quickly and is open again after being shut down by New York City health inspectors.  Inspectors returned to Lake Pavilion on Main Street in Flushing, Queens, just off the Long Island Expressway, and gave it the okay to reopen after four days.  

This is good news for the dim sum connoisseurs who crowd the Lake Pavilion especially on weekends. We love it and sometimes travel from Manhattan just for the variety of delicious dishes.

Here’s the story of its closure. On our last trip we found it closed and decided to check out why.

We learned it takes 5 things to shut down a restaurant.

City health inspectors visited Lake Pavilion during the last week of September and they uncovered the 5 key things and more. But we had no idea until we turned on to the street behind the restaurant and discovered the parking lot empty and blocked.  

A big sign in Chinese told the tale to those who could read it. We met a couple who explained, “The Health Department shut them down,” Sylvia, the wife, said.

The action came as a surprise to us and our new friends and they shared a tip about another Dim Sum place nearby. But what happened at the popular and well-reviewed Lake Pavilion intrigued me and  I investigated to find the full story. 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, according to its website, found enough serious health code violations to shut down the restaurant on September 25, 2014. But the restaurant had an earlier chance to make improvements. Inspectors made repeat visits and cited the restaurant on September 23, 2014 for, among other things:

  1. Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours.
  2.  Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plan.
  3. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
  4. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies.
  5. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
  6. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
  7. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
  8. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.

Inspectors returned two days later and discovered 5 things that caused them to shut down Lake Pavilion.

  1. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
  2.  Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
  3. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
  4. Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
  5. Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.

It certainly makes you glad that health officials took action. And now we’re glad that Lake Pavilion did the necessary cleanup and is back to serving its delicious menu and dim sum.

Comment. What do you think about the cleanliness of your favorite restaurant?

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.

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