Filippi’s, a popular Italian chain restaurant in Eastlake, was approved to reopen Friday when health inspectors cleared the eatery after a temporary closure due to a vermin infestation.
According to the county’s Department of Environmental Health (DEH), evidence of rodents was found in several areas of the restaurant on Showroom Place during inspections on Wednesday and Thursday.
Inspectors removed the A rating as a result and ordered the restaurant closed.
On Friday, county health inspectors released a new report clearing the business and allowing it to reopen to customers.
On Wednesday, April 18, dried rodent droppings were found in the dry storage area, utensil storage area, the back oven, under a stove and inside the conveyor motor housing underneath the dishwashing machine, according to documents provided by county health inspectors.
Rodent nests were found in the bottom panels of two ovens, inspectors said.
“Also observed over 30 droppings and pungent urine smell inside of front oven #2,” the inspectors said in the health department’s report. The document also states fur and droppings were found near the nests.
The company applied for a re-inspection, saying the facility was deep cleaned.
In the follow-up inspection on Thursday, April 19, health inspectors report finding dried mouse droppings and two fresh rat droppings in the restaurant’s dry storage on the second floor. The inspector also found dried urine on plastic wrapper of cardboard pizza boxes and gnaw marks through the plastic and into the boxes, according to documents provided by county health inspectors.
The restaurant provided access to pest control records dated April 11, the county said.
County inspectors also suggested fixing doors that were not self-closing either by disrepair or under the direction of building management.
NBC 7 has reached out to Filippi’s for a statement regarding the closure.
Robert DePhilippis said, "Since I have assumed management of this particular Filippi's restaurant in Eastlake upon the death of my brother, I have been fighting the rodent problem that I inherited by being a lessee of this strip mall. We have had the "best of the best" problem-solving pest control companies to aid in this fight, and until the management of this mall joins in ridding this problem from the entire scope of the mall, I am unduly hindered. Please be confident that my other establishments have no such problem. Thank you for your confidence that this is being taken care of."
NBC 7 reached out to the management of the building and the strip mall regarding DePhilippis' comments. We have not received a response.
The DEH characterizes vermin as “active infestation by rodents or vectors that are disease carriers that would likely result in the contamination of food contact surfaces or adulteration of foods and will warrant an immediate closure.”
Vermin is a major violation and, under state law, requires immediate corrective action or closure until compliance is achieved.
A DEH sign was posted on the front door of the restaurant explaining the findings, as well as another paper sign that read “CLOSED.”
See the most recent health inspection report here.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported the Filippi's restaurant was located in Lakeside. The story has been corrected and NBC 7 regrets the error.