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Downtown Restaurant Fined For Hiding Health Alert Behind Potted Plant

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(Photo Courtesy: Allegheny County Health Department)

(Photo Courtesy: Allegheny County Health Department)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Chinatown Inn is a landmark restaurant downtown.

Big shots have been eating here for years. It was a shock to hear they had numerous health code violations and they tried to hide it from diners.

“A lot of important people eat here, lawyers, judges,” said Precious Beck, of Arlington. “We don’t need them to get sick and not to be able to serve our city. “

Health Department inspectors found 13 critical violations at the Chinatown Inn and they posted one of these yellow stickers warning consumers.

But an off-duty food inspector just happened to drive by the popular Chinese restaurant and he snapped a picture of potted plants blocking the warning.

Chinatown owner Jonathan Yee blames an overzealous employee.

“My employee got tired of customers asking, “What is that thing, what is that thing?” So they just did it,” said Yee.

Yee says there’s a new regime at the Health Department and they don’t understand ethnic food.

“They need to understand more about different culture, different way to prepare food, and I think they need education on that in some way,” he said.

But the Health Department says there’s no way they’ll allow raw chicken dripping on prepared foods. It could make you sick. They also won’t allow an infestation of fruit flies.

Yee blames his exterminator. The Health Department says they have to go.

“I don’t think that people want to have fruit flies floating in their drinks,” said one department official.

“We’re not here to get anybody sick,” said Yee. “Look at our record. We’ve gotten no one sick in the last third generation, three generation.”

The Chinatown Inn now has a green sticker posted on its front door from the Allegheny County Health Department. It means they’ve gotten a clean bill of health, correcting all of their problems.

But the restaurant still owes the county $800 for hiding that yellow sticker.

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