Brandon Baltzley's TMIP, the ten-seat farm-to-table restaurant in Michigan City, IN that opened only eight days ago, has been closed by order of the LaPorte County Health Department. Crain's broke the news after Baltzley posted a photo of the official closure notice on his Instagram account.
Taking to social media, Baltzley gave the following statement:
TMIP has been temporarily shuttered. We will deal with reservation deposits starting today, as they came in. We are going to launch a kick starter in hopes of figuring out how to salvage what many people spent the last year of their life working towards. The outlook is grim, but we will try, as we always have, to bring what we think is the most important part back to the industry.
LaPorte County's Environmental Health Food Supervisor Lana Buckles says that Baltzley's posting of a link to a Zagat article about the restaurant's opening on his Facebook page prompted the inspection which led to the closure.
Buckles made clear that Baltzley has paid numerous visits to the County's offices to submit plans and had been working towards gaining permits. But she says that more work, including an approved septic system for commercial use (or a hook up to the city sewer line) as well as work in the kitchen, needs to be completed before further inspections can be done, permits granted and the closure lifted.
It would seem that Baltzley's plan to open as a "pop-up" with suggested donations for meals is not in line with Indiana law. Buckles states that only organizations with 501 C-3 status, such as churches, VFW halls or Boy Scout troops, can serve food to the public a certain number of times per year, whether that be for free or not, due to their not-for-profit status.
Despite this fact, Baltzley tells Zagat that the restaurant will be hosting a dinner tonight for free. The story also quotes Baltzley as saying the restaurant needs to raise another $40,000, ostensibly to bring the property up to code for permitting.
Stay tuned for more details as they emerge.
· Chef Brandon Baltzley's TMIP farm restaurant shuttered in Michigan City [Crain]
· Brandon Baltzley's TMIP Shut Down by Health Department [Zagat]
· All Brandon Baltzley & TMIP Coverage [-ECHI-]