Gayborhood Greek restaurant Opa is back in business after the city’s health inspection agency shut it down for almost two-weeks. On top of that, it took the restaurant multiple inspections to be allowed to re-open.
The nightmare on Sansom Street began when an inspector dropped by on January 18, finding mouse droppings in a host of places in the restaurant: in a dry storage area, in the dining room, on a cooling rack, as well as dead mice in the basement and under a booth in the dining room. There was also some evidence of living counterparts, too, writes the inspector: “sweet potato on floor observed gnawed.” These issues, on top of several others, were enough to force the restaurant to shutter, which was made clear by a lurid yellow and white Department of Health notice on the door.
Two days later, Opa was reinspected. A few new infractions were added, and it remained closed. On January 23, inspector Gillian Clarke made her third trip to Sansom Street, and found more mouse droppings in a refrigerator. No dice again, Opa stayed closed.
Three more days later on January 26, another check-in from Clarke yielded the first sighting of live mice, on food containers in a storage room. Again, no re-opening was allowed. Finally, on Monday (January 30), Opa was permitted to reopen after its fifth inspection in two weeks, which uncovered only minor, non-mouse related infractions. Opa reopened Monday night, and is back to its regular hours now.
All the inspection reports list Opa’s chef, Haralampus Saritsoglou, as the person in charge who signed off on the reports on the restaurant’s side.
Philly.com managed to get a statement out of Opa while the closure was ongoing, and it suggests that the health department was overly strict: the restaurant brought in a sanitation team who said they had “not seen stringency from the health inspector like this before.”
But that statement came out over a week ago, on the evening of January 23 — the same day mouse dropping were found in a fridge, and days before the inspector uncovered live mice. Those issues appear to have been found after what Opa says was “rounds of cleanings and maintenance” from professionals.
In any case, Opa is clean again and able to re-take its place in the last few days of the Center City District Restaurant Week.
- Food Facility Inspection Report [Philadelphia Department of Health]
- Health Dept. shuts Opa at start of restaurant week [Philly.com]