MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - A Midtown Chinese buffet has re-opened under a new food permit after the health department revoked its original permit for unsafe food.
March 16, the Memphis-Shelby County Health Department's Assistant Manager of Sanitation Otho Sawyer served New Dragon China, 1680 Madison Ave., a "notice of intent to revoke establishment permit." The notice cited the restaurant with "potentially hazardous food not maintained at the required temperature."
The establishment's management elected not to appeal the notice, according to Sawyer. It accepted the revocation of its food permit.
According to an Action News 5 open records request and an on-going Restaurant Scorecard investigation, the revocation notice is the last in a long line of citations and warnings for New Dragon China.
It has failed four health inspections in the last seven months (please click here for details on the previous failures: http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12123741).
The restaurant was warned about the possibility of losing its permit last November, when Sawyer issued New Dragon China a letter dated Nov. 18. That letter reminded the restaurant of the health department's authority to revoke its permit on the grounds of "potentially hazardous food" and improperly installed "toilet/handwashing facilities."
"We're fixing it," said New Dragon China's Manager Ken Dong after his third failed inspection. "We're doing our best to get it back up."
Sawyer said by regulation, the restaurant must close for a minimum of 24 hours, clean up or make repairs, then pass a compliance inspection. He confirmed New Dragon China shut down earlier this week, then re-opened after it passed its compliance inspection.
"What we are going to do is...get a new permit," said Dong.
Sawyer said a restaurant owner/manager whose food permit has been revoked is allowed to apply for a new permit as long as he or she pays a new permit fee. After paying the fee and passing a compliance inspection, the restaurant would receive a new health department identification number, called its "establishment number."
"It will be treated as if it is a brand new establishment," Sawyer said. "The old establishment number goes away."
When Action News 5 asked Sawyer if that would make it more difficult to trace the restaurant's inspection history, he replied, "No, not really because the address stays the same.
"It gives the establishment's new management or new changes that they installed the opportunity to make the corrections necessary in order to maintain a safe establishment."
For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, click here.