RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In 2012, Bon Appetit magazine named Peter Chang China Cafe in Short Pump one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America. But this year, the restaurant's annual health permit renewal was delayed twice because it kept having repeated critical violations on health inspections. It finally got that permit renewal last month.
Considered a top Szechwan chef, Peter Chang once cooked for China's president and the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Then he started opening restaurants along the mid-Atlantic. Peter Chang China Cafe opened in Short Pump in 2012 to rave reviews and pretty good health inspection scores.
Suddenly, last November, it had five critical violations plus 12 non-critical on its health inspection, including problems like raw meat stored over cooked food, unlabeled food, chicken thawing in standing water, shrimp not kept cold enough in the make table, and dirty wash water. The report says the cafe's annual permit was due for renewal in January. Instead, the restaurant only received temporary extensions twice because, reports show, it had eight critical violations in January and 6 critical in February, repeating several of the same violations.
Peter Chang's business partner, Gen Lee said the restaurant was just busy and sent us this statement: "After a long conversation with the store manager and chef at the kitchen, we have more employees training, asked the linen company to give us new wiping cloths, and label in the refrigerator. About the duck not being dated, duck will be sold out in a couple hours. Every day we had to make it twice. For sure the restaurant would never be perfectly clean, especially when you do 300-400 guests every day. ... We would do everything to keep up the challenge."
When the inspector returned to the restaurant on March 2, the report says it had just two critical violations, all other problems were finally corrected, and the restaurant's annual permit was renewed.
It's a totally different story at Curbside Kitchen, a food truck that sets up on North 25th and Cedar Street in Richmond.
Curbside Kitchen's owner said, "Basically when I'm not doing anything, like right now, I'd be in there wiping and cleaning, keep myself occupied, making sure everything is fresh and neat."
Curbside Kitchen earns this week's NBC12 Hall of Fame Award for acing every health inspection it's had over the last two years.
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