WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - A WUSA 9 restaurant inspection probe has identified continuing issues at DMV restaurants despite recent health department warnings and closures.
College Park Closure
Officials say Prince Café, 8145 Baltimore Avenue in College Park, has been under a closure order for sanitation violations since November 14th, but when we stopped by Monday, the doors were open and clerks sold a WUSA9 undercover producer a chicken-spinach carryout dish.
Last week at the College Park hookah bar, WUSA 9 cameras recorded a patron smoking hookah, which Prince George County officials say violates restaurant code.
Prince George's County records show inspectors cited a sewage back up in Prince Café's kitchen, mold, mice droppings and a citation for operating with no food manager trained and certified in sanitation.
A worker said they are trained in food safety -- they just don't have proper county license. He connected us by phone to Prince Café's owner. He disputed the citations, but declined an interview.
Seven Corners Closure
In Fairfax County, Viet Bistro at Eden Center in Falls Church had passed a re-inspection and was allowed to reopen but when WUSA9 camera checked on conditions workers said there was no food safety manager on the premises.
That is the same violation inspectors cited for the closure the week before.
Inspectors also cited food at unsafe temperatures, hand washing violations and contamination risks.
We waited at the restaurants front door over an hour until Viet Bistro's only food safety manager returned to supervise sanitation as required by the health department.
The woman, who identified herself as the owner, said she believed the health department had given the restaurant a grace period to come into compliance.
"It's a misunderstanding because right now I'm the only person that has a food manager, because the economy right now is really bad and I have to go to the market and get the food," the owner said.
In Wheaton, at Jose's Grill, 11423 Georgia Ave, inspectors ordered the restaurant to stop selling its signature pupusas and all food items due to hand washing, and contamination violations caused by operating with no hot water.
Jose's declined an interview, but allowed us to see inside his kitchen....where the water was hot.
Jose's passed a re-inspection and reopened.
Fairfax County officials returned to Viet Bistro based upon our findings and say it was in compliance during their follow-up inspection.
Prince George's County officials say Prince Café remains under a closure order for sanitation violations, but that a follow-up inspection did not show evidence it was violating the closure order by selling food.