Belleville’s IHOP has reopened after closing for more than two months due to health concerns.
Extreme filth, leaking plumbing and an insect problem led to the voluntary closure of the location on Oct. 16, according to St. Clair County Health Department documents.
Manager Sobhi Shaat said there has been extensive remodeling at the restaurant since the shutdown.
“I think the whole town has been excited about us being open,” Shaat said Tuesday. “Everything should be fresh and nice.”
Sharon Valentine, director of environmental protections at St Clair County Health Department, said the department did a reopening inspection of the restaurant Thursday and found it met all the health code requirements. The restaurant reopened Friday.
“Basically it’s the same 45-item inspection on all our establishments,” she said about Thursday’s inspection. “They actually had finished all the work they were required to do before the opening inspection; we did not need to tell them to do anything else. They voluntarily did all the work they needed to do.”
Mohammad Youseff, the owner of the restaurant, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Valentine said health inspectors check items such as food temperatures, basic cleaning and sanitary issues.
“It’s perfectly acceptable,” Valentine said about the restaurant.
According to the health department documents, in October, a gnat flew into a customer’s mouth while in the restroom. That same customer complained about finding a gnat in their eggs.
When a 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,” an inspector wrote. “(I) talked with the manager and he said they have a leak under the counter in the lobby and that was causing the gnat problem.”
The report also stated: “After further discussion, (the 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 day after the complaint was filed, a pest-control crew tried to work on the insect problem, but couldn’t because of “standing stagnant water” in the restaurant.
An inspector notified the city’s planning and zoning department about the plumbing problem before the restaurant closed for repairs.