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Current Conditions: This Time It's Personal

By Caroline Clough in Food on Nov 6, 2007 4:15PM

2007_november_chicagoist_bagelyick.jpgThis week Chicagoist received an email from the Chicago Department of Public Health, announcing the immediate closing of The Great American Bagel at 1248 W. Belmont. The list of serious violations included cockroach infestation and the serving of spoiled food. That's bad, obviously, but what's worse is that we have actually eaten food from this establishment! We felt kind of "eeeww" after our egg and cheese sandwich; now we realize how worse we could have felt.

The Great American Bagel marks the 234th closing of a eating establishment this year by the Health Department. The eatery will remain closed until company representatives "explain themselves" at a hearing on December 20th. Imagine the possible excuses: "Well, Bobby the cockroach was so cute, when he asked if he could bring a few friends around, how could we say no"? They'll probably be required to pay a fine up to $2000. And well they should. No excuse makes bugs in the cream cheese okay.

We thought we'd take a look at some other bagel shops around the city and see whether they're destined to be the 235th restaurant closed in the year 2007, or if they deserve golden stars, puppies, party hats and our patronage.

  • You can't do a Chicago bagel inspection without including at least one Einstein Brothers Bagels. Well, we couldn't, anyways. Of the 8 franchise locations in Chicago, 7 have passed their latest inspections without any serious violations. The one exception, located at 3420 N. Southport, passed with conditions after its June 2007 walk-through. The two critical violations they faced were violation numbers 2 and 3. Both violations deal with food being stored at proper temperatures (hot foods above 140 degrees, cold foods below 40 degrees) and in proper storage facilities.
  • Chicago Bagel Authority had its last inspection in September and though it was cited for having less than stellar floors and silverware, it passed in the end. Its report also gave us the opportunity to learn a little more about violation number 41: All parts of the food establishment and all parts of the property used in connection with the operation of the establishment shall be kept neat and clean and should not produce any offensive odors. Cleaning equipment shall be properly stored away from food, utensils, equipment, and clean linens. A strange pairing, it's as if violation #41 is saying, in the same breath, " Hey, no weird smells and don't keep your Comet too close to your meat slicer either, bitch."
  • NYC Bagel, at 1001 N. North Avenue, didn't give us any interesting new information either. It, too, had trouble with weird smells and cleaning products
  • .
  • Beans & Bagels turned out to be equally bo-ring with run-of-the-mill violations 32, 33 and 34, dealing with silverware and properly constructed floors.