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Sun Wah Reopens After Another Health Inspector Shutter: 'We Are Mostly Rodent Proof'

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Owner blames cold and nearby construction for violations, says restaurant is now clean.

Sun Wah
Sun Wah
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Sun Wah is back in business after health inspectors shut down the restaurant on Monday for rodent-related violations. Owner Kelly Cheng said her Uptown restaurant reopened around 4 p.m. Tuesday after a thorough cleaning and calling in crews from Ecolab rodent control. She was quick to say inspectors never found live rodents inside the restaurant. DNAinfo reported rat droppings inside, including on food containers, and gnaw marks on bags of rice.

Cheng blamed the winter's cold and nearby construction. She said her staff used cement and patched spots inside the restaurant to prevent rodent entry.

"We are mostly rodent proof, but not every restaurant is rodent proof, I suppose," she said. "My brother, sister and I were a little more lax as owners and that's not something that worked out in our favor."

Sun Wah, a favorite for Hong Kong-style barbecued pork and Peking duck, has failed health inspections last year and in 2013. DNAinfo also reported a violation stemming from cleaner fluid splashed on a hanging pig. Cheng offered no comment on that, but feels the inspection process could be improved overall.

"To be honest and fair, I understand the inspector's job, but really they need to be better trained," she said.

The inspector's should be more consistent, post clearer guidelines and return phone calls so restaurants can comply better, she said. Sometimes the restaurant staff will feel they're following guidelines, for example storing food at a certain temperature, only for inspectors to show up and force them to throw away food, she continued.

"We've been in business long enough to know mostly what they look for," Cheng said.

The inspection comes coincidentally close to Chinese New Year, which is Thursday, Feb. 19. Sun Wah, and other Chinese restaurants, are celebrating the holiday that traditionally draws larger dining crowds for them.

Sun Wah Bar-B-Que

5039 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640 Visit Website