A popular Hispanic supermarket in Normal Heights was fully operational Monday after a multi-day closure due to vermin and other health violations.
Live cockroaches found in food preparation areas was one of the multiple reasons why the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) shut down Pancho Villa Mercado in Normal Heights on Wednesday.
According to inspection reports obtained by NBC 7, violations included "too numerous to count live and dead cockroaches" in the bakery and juice areas, a clogged and overflowing floor sink and no hand soap in the tortilla-making areas, and foods being cooled at unsafe temperatures in the deli.
The deli and market areas of the store were reopened Saturday, but the market's bakery remained closed due to "continued presence of live cockroaches,' according to inspection reports.
As of Monday, all areas of the market, including the bakery, were fully operational.
"If they've committed to fixing it, then I'm committed to keep coming back," Pancho Villa customer Mario Olmas said. "I've worked in the restaurant industry. There's places all the time that go through different issues, it's something you have to deal with with food."
According to the Department of Environmental Health, no one reported getting sick from eating foods purchased at Pancho Villa.
"I'm kinda shocked but a little not shocked," said Karen Lascola, who shops at the food store mainly for their produce.
Pancho Villa's store manager declined to comment on camera, but told NBC 7 that the store is clean and he is working with the city to make sure all areas of the supermarket are up to standard.
Heather Buonomo, Supervising Environmental Health Specialist of the Department of Environmental Health, said they inspect supermarkets and restaurants one to three times a year to make sure they are complying with food laws. They also manage a Restaurant/Market Grading system.
"This is where we assign a point value to different violations and then give a score or rating to the restaurant," said Buonomo.
As for Pancho Villa, they now have an 'A' rating posted inside their store.
"Always as soon as you walk in look for that grade card, in order for that customer to make an informed decision where they want to dine," said Buonomo.