A gnat reportedly flew in a customer’s mouth, then another bug landed in their eggs. More than two weeks later, Bellleville’s IHOP is still closed.
Extreme filth along with leaking plumbing and an insect problem led to the voluntary closure of IHOP’s location at 601 Carlyle Ave.
According to St. Clair County Health Department documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, a customer filed a complaint on Oct. 9.
More than 20 photographs released by the county on Oct. 30 show the restaurant’s dirty interior.
Those images were captured by the health department after the customer filed a complaint on its emergency line.
According to the documents, a gnat flew into a customer’s mouth while in the restroom. That same customer complained about finding a gnat in the eggs.
When an health inspector arrived the next day, more bugs were visible.
“(W)hile waiting for the manager, I noticed gnats all over the servers’ service counter and in the lobby,” the inspector wrote. “Talked with the manager and he said they have a leak under the counter in the lobby and that was causing the gnat problem.”
Calls to the owner, Mohammad Youseff, were not returned. A spokeswoman from IHOP’s corporate office said she would try to reach Youseff.
The day after the complaint was filed pest control tried to work on the insect problem, but couldn’t because of “standing stagnate water” in the restaurant.
An inspector notified the city’s planning and zoning department about the plumbing problem before the restaurant closed for repairs.
“After further discussion (St. Clair County Health Department) determined it was necessary to have the facility voluntarily close due to the leaking plumbing, insects and extreme filth,” the documents from the health department state.
The restaurant scored an 87 on the last health department inspection before a complaint was filed.