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Losing Our Appetite

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Jul 3, 2007 4:00PM

2007_7_dirty2.jpgWould you like flies with that?

More than 250 eateries in the city have been closed in the last six months due to failing city health inspections. This year, the Department of Streets and Sanitation has closed 135 establishments. Whether it comes from the sky (flies and other insects) or from the ground (no Ratatouille in our local restaurants, please), the violations are enough for us to stay inside and make our own food.

Violators highlighted in the Trib piece include: the Golden Apple at 2971 N. Lincoln Ave. (more than 300 flying insects and unsafe food-storage temperatures); Su Taqueria El Gallo Bravo at 3156 N. Austin Ave. (investigators saw a kitchen worker use a towel to kill flies on a cutting board, and then use that same towel to wipe his knife, which he wielded to chop cilantro); and Super Steak at 808 W. 69th St. (mice droppings on the service counter, display shelves, cooking oil containers and cases of soda). Thankfully, none of these restaurants had blowflies.

Matt Smith, DSS spokesperson, says diners should look for signs that the restaurants they frequent aren't sanitary. He recommends watching for insects on the walls, slime on the ice in your drinks (slime?), and holes in the wall big enough for roaches to crawl through.

If you want to find out which restaurants have had violations in 2007, you can download a list here (PDF). Lest you think only smaller/less reputable businesses are getting caught, we discovered that Zapatista, Icosium Kafe and Sultan's Market (Lincoln Park location) have all had violations in the past six months. Ironically, the most recent violators on the list is a little establishment called See Thru Chinese Kitchen, which was cited for having backed-up sewage. Or maybe we'd rather not see thru, hmm?

Image via Geekgrrl++, who writes "a maligned quickie pizza place at the North/Clybourn red line stop. From health code violation to carb consumption in four days flat."