GILFORD — The town’s health officer has ordered the closure of a local ethnic restaurant citing a “pest infestation.”
The Taipei & Osaka restaurant in Unit #160 at 1458 Lake Shore Road in the Lake Shore Marketplace shopping center was shuttered by Gilford Health Officer and Deputy Fire Chief Brad Ober on April 17, and remains closed.
“To say thousands is not an exaggeration,” Ober said of the number of roaches found at the eatery that serves Chinese, Japanese, and Korean specialties.
He found the bugs while performing the annual life-safety inspection at the restaurant on April 15, when he traced an extension cord back to its power source and opened a cabinet.
He in turn notified the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services’ Food Protection division, which scheduled an inspection two days later.
Roaches were not only found in the kitchen but also near the sushi bar and in the lounge, which Ober says is evidence that they migrated through the dining room.
In addition to the “gross infestation of roaches,” the state inspector also found that the temperature of raw meats and shrimp was 60 degrees at 10 a.m., when the staff was preparing to open, a likely indicator that the food had been left unrefrigerated overnight, Ober said.
Jin Qing Huan, the restaurant owner, had previously contracted with an exterminator who, according to reports obtained by Ober, has treated the restaurant six times since January to kill the pests.
“I’m concerned that the carpeting needs to be ripped up and that the suspended ceiling needs to come down. In the six hours we spent inside the restaurant we never found the nest,” Ober said.
State law empowers a health officer to order that a property be vacated if he determines, based on “reasonable information and belief,” that the conditions pose a “clear and imminent danger to the life of occupants or other persons.”
In keeping with state law, Ober notified WS Development of Chestnut Hill, Mass., which owns Lake Shore Marketplace.
The property manager did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment and the restaurant’s phone went unanswered.
During a Jan. 15 inspection by the state, the restaurant was cited for being out of compliance for having “numerous examples” of unclean food equipment; for improper hot and cold food holding temperatures; and for storing Ajax, a potentially toxic material, above the three-compartment sink, where it could contaminate food.
According to a posting on the front door of the eatery, “persons aggrieved by this order (to vacate) may rquest (sic) a hearing in the Laconia District Court, and may ask the court to direct the responsible party to remove or abate the dangerous condition.”