Poop in the restaurant: Nick’s Riverside Grill in DC now says poop-slinging Yelp response was ‘honest error’

Yet another twist in a saga that has captivated the District: Nick’s Riverside Grill is issuing an apology for accusing a Yelp critic of losing control of her bowels in what they’re now saying is a case of mistaken identity.

french.dont.eat.poopWashington City Paper reported earlier this week that Nick’s Riverside Grill responded to a one-star Yelp review with accusations that the writer in question, Emma C., pooped her pants at the Georgetown establishment.

“The fact of the matter is you lost control of your bowels in the middle of our restaurant, and you proceeded to sit in it for the remainder of the evening, making more of a mess. We had to reroute our other patrons so they didn’t walk through your mess, causing quite a scene,” Liz, a manager at Nick’s, posted in part.

Owner Greg Casten told WCP he allowed the response after vetting the claims through security footage and interviewing staffers. “While an unfortunate incident in general, the woman and her friends left a real mess, included numerous towels we had provided discarded in the restaurant, dirty clothing thrown away in the bathrooms, a ugly, smelly mess just outside our front door and some very distraught employees,” he wrote.

Or did she? Emma C. contacted WCP to tell them that Nick’s must have confused her with another patron. “I’m just a dissatisfied customer who is now being accused by this establishment of being someone that I’m not, saying some very nasty things about me and also insulting this other girl who could potentially have serious health issues,” she wrote.

Now, after further investigation, Casten says the restaurant screwed up, and is issuing Emma a formal apology. “I have very little question that the woman who wrote the review was in fact not the same person to whom the described incident occurred. We are wrong and we have reached out to apologize,” he wrote to WCP. He calls the situation an “honest error.”

Emma told WCP she is considering pressing charges, and she deleted her initial review on Yelp. Nick’s Riverside Grill currently has two-and-a-half stars on Yelp.

Fancy food ain’t safe food – DC’s Fig & Olive edition with 70 sick

The number of Salmonella cases linked to the Fig & Olive, the New York-based chain that opened a restaurant in City Center DC this year, has climbed to 70.

Fig & OliveMarcus A. Williams, a spokesman for the health department, said six patients have been confirmed to have Salmonella infection. Five live in the District and one in Alexandria.

All 70 “reported eating or drinking at the Fig and Olive establishment,” Williams confirmed via e-mail.

Health officials had collected 10 food and environmental samples from Fig & Olive last week, but they all came back negative, Williams noted. One is being re-tested.

“Additional environment and food testing is underway,” the spokesman e-mailed.

Fig & Olive remained closed Monday and has not set a date to reopen. The chain issued a statement via its local representative:

“We are continuing to make progress on testing and re-testing our products and procedures and sanitizing our facility from top to bottom. We are working with both the Department of Health and with the third-party food safety company we retained. It is premature to discuss any findings at this time but we are working hard to re-open soon.”

20 sick with Salmonella linked to DC restaurant

Fig & Olive restaurant in City Center closed Thursday night amid concerns about an outbreak that hospitalized four people with salmonella-like symptoms.

Fig & OliveThe D.C. Department of Health is trying to determine the source of the outbreak. Environmental and food samples have been collected.

Twenty cases of possible salmonella have been identified, but only two have been confirmed.

Three of those cases occurred over Labor Day weekend, as people were admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital.

A spokeswoman for Fig & Olive says the restaurant is cooperating with the health department.

Fig and Olive released the following statement:

“The health and safety of our restaurants and patrons is of paramount importance to us. Fig & Olive has closed the City Center DC restaurant due to reports that some patrons have recently been sickened. We have retained third-party consultants to provide assistance in this investigation and will cooperate fully with the Department of Health. We will continue to work with the DOH to insure that we have done all we can for the safety of our customers.”

D.C. Target’s grocery area shut down after health violations, including rodent droppings

D.C. residents who like to do their grocery shopping at Target need to find another place to purchase their food for now.

rat.droppingsThe D.C. Department of Health suspended the retailer’s license at its Columbia Heights store after it failed a health inspection Thursday afternoon. Inspectors found a number of violations throughout the store, including rodent droppings in the back storage area, according to Ivan Torres, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Health.

The fresh grocery area of the store and the pizza cafe, which serves hot prepared food, are closed. All other parts of the store are still open.

“At Target, food safety and quality are a top priority,” a Target spokesman wrote in an email. “We take this issue very seriously and are working with officials to address any concerns as quickly as possible.”

Rodent droppings on plates in DC restaurant

“Mice droppings on plates” cited at one of DC’s favorite Indian restaurants resulted in a second closure health department closure order there.

Heritage India, 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWIt’s one of three closure inspections in this Restaurant Alert, including the Department of Commerce.

Health inspectors temporarily closed Heritage India, 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Chipotle, 413 8th Street, SE, Department of Commerce, 6th Floor Snack Bar, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW.

All passed re-inspection and are back in business.

To check your favorite restaurant, have a Restaurant Alert smartphone link sent to you by texting FOOD to 25543

Pest problems, no hot water violations prompt closures in DC area

Russ Ptacek of WUSA9 reports on recent restaurant infractions throughout Washington, D.C.

A pesky problem at a coffee house, a pizza shop with sanitation issues, cooling issues at a Peruvian restaurant, a café using unapproved kitchen equipment, and a kabob carry out with 25 health code violations are part of this week’s Food Alert.

PR amateurs: DC restaurant, closed with 17 health violations, forbids reporter to look under its tables

After being cited for rodent droppings and 16 other health violations, the Cosi at Metro Center in Washington, D.C., has forbidden WUSA9’s Russ Ptacek from looking under its tables, calling the inquiry “unwarranted” and accusing the investigative reporter of causing “a great deal of distress.”

As summarized by Lucia Graves of The Huffington Post, the incident comes shortly after D.C. Health inspectors deemed the restaurant an images“imminent health hazard,” with violations ranging from undersized sinks to chicken and other comestibles being stored at improperly high temperatures.

Upon visiting the establishment with a videographer in tow, Ptacek was told to leave the premises immediately. Later a regional manager followed up with an indignant email, which went viral after Ptacek posted it to Facebook.

“We would appreciate it if you do not disturb our customers, partners and management team with unwarranted investigations,” wrote regional manager Yasmin Contreras in an email that was later shared on Facebook 140 times and reached an audience of 20,000. “Actions such as looking under our furniture or asking questions aggressively do a great deal of distress towards our customers and our Cosi team.”

A part-owner of Cosi has since apologized for the letter, and a brief Friday visit from The Huffington Post was handled very differently. “Feel free to take a look around,” local manager Lu Story said upon HuffPost’s arrival. “The Health Department came in. They inspected us. They gave us a clean bill of health. We were able to satisfy any of the violations they saw previously.”

He declined to allow the Huffington Post to take pictures of him or interview customers, things which he claimed as a franchise he was not licensed to allow. He did, however, invite HuffPost to look for mouse droppings under his tables.

“Help yourself,” he said with a wave of his hand.

Rats at Adams Morgan sushi restaurant, sewage at Hyattsville Pizza Hut among DC restaurant closures

This week’s WUSA9 Food Alert focuses on restaurant closures for serious health department violations.

Russ Ptacek of WUSA9 reports suspensions include North Sea Carryout on 18th St. NW, Chen’s Gourmet on MacArthur Blvd. NW, Jason’s Sub in Takoma Park, Bubble Tea Café in Westfield Wheaton Mal, Pizza Hut in Hyattsville and Tis Corner Café in Silver Spring.

All the restaurants passed health department re-inspections and are back in business.

In the heart of Adams Morgan, our Food Alert cameras recorded rat feces on the basement floor in a restaurant known for Asian fusion and sushi.

Prior to our visit, health inspectors cited the restaurant, North Sea Carryout on 18th St. NW, for 20 violations

The manager showed us paperwork proving he’d corrected the certified food safety manager violation, and a tour inside showed no sign of large flies cited by inspectors or the thermometer violations cited in the suspension report.

He said an exterminator is battling the situation, but we found rat droppings in two locations in the restaurant’s basement storage area.

We didn’t find any violations in the kitchen.


DC don’t know food safety

Washington, D.C. is always on the cutting edge of food safety.


Which is why 13 years after Los Angeles started posting restaurant inspection grades, nine years after Toronto started posting red-yellow-green restaurant inspection grades, and a year after New York City started posting letter grades, someone in D.C. decided, hey, we should do that too.

D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) has introduced a bill that would require D.C. restaurants to publicly display letter-grade report cards on their premises, based on Department of Health inspections.

Cheh believes the grades would decrease the number of hospitalizations caused by foodborne diseases.