A visit to their Web site boasts that the Hai Yen restaurant on the North Side produces such Vietnamese and Chinese delicacies as pho beef noodle soup and lotus root salad, but city inspectors found something much less appetizing -- roaches and rat droppings.
Mayor Richard M. Daley's Dumpster Task Force, acting on complaints, inspected the restaurant at 1055 W. Argyle on Tuesday and found live roaches in the food prep area, along with rat feces, grease-encrusted equipment and no proof of garbage service. That led to a closure order, according to Department of Streets and Sanitation spokesman Matt Smith.
Inspectors spotted more than 50 live roaches on the walls and under boxes of mangoes and fish sauce, Smith said.
"There were tons of live roaches," Smith said. "They counted more than 50 and usually, if they count that many, they just stop counting."
And when inspectors stopped counting roaches, they also noticed a handful of flying insects and more than 50 rat droppings on the floor, Smith said.
"In the alley, they found a barrel used as a grease container that was splattered with grease, along with the pavement around it," Smith said. "The spillage had attracted rats, because more droppings were found there."
Back inside, Smith said said it was a "customer beware situation," with the dining room appearing clean and pleasant, "but just under the surface was all sorts of filth. Just about every piece of equipment, from utensils to coolers were encrusted in grease."
The restaurant has been featured on the WTTW-11 show "Check Please!", but the show's Web site did not say when.
Hai Yen was closed after being issued citations for inadequate pest control, failing to properly contain used cooking grease and failing to be able to prove they retained garbage service, according to a release from Streets & Sanitation.
"This business deserved to be closed because they put their customers at risk by preparing and serving them food under totally unacceptable circumstances," Deputy Streets & San Commissioner Josie Cruz said in the release. "Now they have to prove that they deserve to be reopened and that will entail a serious and thorough cleanup , a total revamping of housekeeping and pest control practices, and passing a tough reinspection."