Health violations prompt closure at Newport on the Levee restaur - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Health violations prompt closure at Newport on the Levee restaurant

WXIX/file WXIX/file
NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) -

Mitchell's Fish Market at Newport on the Levee was forced to close this past weekend for health code violations.

According to Steve Franzen, Campbell County Attorney, Mitchell’s faces possible charges of failure to comply with an order of the Health Department (up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine).

Mitchell's problems began Friday when someone called an anonymous tip into the Northern Kentucky Health Department, saying the restaurant had no hot water.

"That got our attention so that's why we went down there and took a look at it," said Steve Divine, with the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

The company put out a statement, saying:

To ensure food safety, we ceased operations after learning that parts were unavailable for our rooftop water heater. The Newport Health Department gave us clearance to reopen upon the repair of our water heater for lunch on Monday, December 4.

But the health department says there was way more to it than that. Department paperwork shows inspectors found at least 33 health violations, including:

  • food not properly stored at safe temperatures
  • employees handling seafood with their bare hands
  • food particles left in a slicer
  • pest strips placed throughout the property

The company did not comment on these other violations.

"A lot of critical violations, which caused immediate closure," said Divine.

Divine said the inspector placed a sign on the front door saying that the restaurant was closed, but the restaurant refused to comply.

"They refused to close," Divine said. "And so we had an issue come up that is highly irregular for a place to not close when we give them the order to."

Divine said restaurants that score anything lower than a 60 during an inspection automatically get their food permit revoked.

"It ended up being a score of 54 which is a lot of critical violations caused the immediate closure," he said. 

Then Franzen got a call.

"Not only did they not close, but they had put up menus that obscured what the health inspector had posted on the front door," Franzen said.

He said he couldn't get them to comply, at first.

"They were a little resistant honestly, to us at first, but we explained to them that the Newport police are going to be down and they're going to start arresting people in this restaurant if those doors aren't shut," Franzen said.

Mitchell's finally complied and remained closed for the entire weekend.

"I know it's a difficult thing but we're talking about people's health here," Franzen said.

Mitchell's reopened Monday.

Copyright 2017 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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