Food & Drink

Popular Chinese restaurant remains closed after state inspection reveals ‘imminent health hazard’

Code violations shut down Kam-Wah Chop Suey in East St. Louis

The popular Kam-Wah Chop Suey in East St. Louis has been temporarily shut down due to Code violations. The restaurant is expected to reopen after fixing plumbing issues.
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The popular Kam-Wah Chop Suey in East St. Louis has been temporarily shut down due to Code violations. The restaurant is expected to reopen after fixing plumbing issues.

A popular Chinese take-out restaurant in East St. Louis remains closed after nearly a dozen plumbing violations forced it to shut down more than a week ago.

The East Side Health District suspended the food establishment permit for Kam Wah Chop Suey March 8, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. After a complaint was filed, a state plumber found that the grease trap for the restaurant lacked maintenance and debris had clogged the line connected to restaurant 7604 State Street.

In a phone interview Monday, Myla Oliver-Blandford, assistant administrator of Environmental Health Programs at East Side Health District, said the improper disposal of grease can lead to an “imminent health hazard.”

A photograph in the documents obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat shows a yellow substance in the sink. A manager told health inspectors that “all grease is sent outside in the trash.”

As of Tuesday, work continued inside the closed restaurant and pile of old plumbing was visible in the parking lot.

The owners of Kam Wah Chop Suey could not be immediately reached for comment.

Blandford said a state plumbing inspector will return to the restaurant to approve the corrections. The restaurant could reopen if the storefront passes the next plumbing inspection.

In addition to drainage issues, other plumbing problems at the restaurant included not having a hand wash sink with tempered water, no antimicrobial seat in the water closet, the restroom did not meet the 2018 Illinois Accessibility Code, a separate sink for mopping was not present and the store didn’t have a grease interceptor for the wok.

The restaurant is required to have the problems fixed by an Illinois registered licensed plumber.

Anyone with concerns about any retail food establishment within East Side Health District’s jurisdiction (East St. Louis, Stites, Canteen, Centreville townships) should call 618-271-8722; ext. 538.

Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.


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