Opa Is Still Closed Due to “Live Mouse” Problem

It's been a pretty terrible start to 2017 for the popular Gayborhood Greek spot.

Photos by Ashley Cappetta

Photos by Ashley Cappetta

For some restaurants in Center City, the Friday of January’s Restaurant Week is the single busiest night of the year. But over at Opa, the Greek restaurant-and-bar at the corner of 13th and Sansom streets, business couldn’t be worse.

You see, Opa was shut down by health inspectors on January 18th, and it still hasn’t reopened.

Typically, when health inspectors find health code violations, the restaurant is written up but not shuttered. But in more serious cases, an inspector can force a restaurant to close. When that happens, the inspector returns in a couple of days. If the problem has been solved, the restaurant can reopen. If not, an embarrassing “CEASE OPERATIONS” notice remains stuck to the front door.

Such is the case with Opa.

When Opa was inspected last October, the restaurant received a litany of violations but there was no mention of mice. The restaurant was allowed to remain open and was told to fix the issues.

But on January 18th, an inspector returned. And Opa was not so lucky.

According to documents provided by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, an inspector found mouse droppings in the dry storage area, under a meat slicer in the basement, behind soiled linens in the basement, on top of a washing area, underneath booths in the dining room, and on a cooling rack.

The inspector also reportedly found a dead mouse in a linen storage area and another in the dining area. There were a bunch of other citations, including for flies in the bar, on walls, and in the servers’ area, among other places.

When the inspector returned two days later, no droppings or dead mice were found, according to the report, but the flies remained, and there were other citations as well. The inspector kept Opa closed for “imminent health hazards.”

This past Monday, Opa got another chance to reopen, but no. The inspector found more mouse droppings, according to city records.

And then on Thursday afternoon, the situation got even worse, depending on how you look at it. City records indicate that the inspector actually found live mice crawling around. Other violations persisted.

Because the city requires at least 48 hours between inspections, the Department of Public Health won’t return to Opa until Saturday at the earliest. The department does sometimes perform inspections on weekends.

On Monday, the restaurant issued a statement to Philly.com stating that their sanitation consultants had “not seen stringency from the health inspector like this before.”

So it’s the department’s fault that Opa is closed?

The statement went on:

“These professionals have gone as far to say they’d guess no restaurant is currently as clean as Opa right now, especially after rounds of cleanings and maintenance. … [W]e are all pretty shocked by the outcome, but respect the authority of the health department and will continue to work hard to rectify this situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our staff and guests.”

Our attempts to reach restaurant management were unsuccessful.

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