[Update below] For the second time in just over a month, the Department of Health has closed Danny Bowien's popular LES restaurant Mission Chinese. Though Bowien admits they've had cleanliness issues in the past, he insists the ongoing problems aren't because of a dirty kitchen. The hotshot restaurateur explained to Eater that structural problems and the building of a new condo behind the property led to unforeseen issues that plagued the restaurant since it opened last year.
"We got this space, it was a really awesome deal, but I realized that it wasn't up to code; the back space is a wooden structure," Bowien explained. Instead of throwing a bandaid on the problem, Bowien has opted to close the restaurant voluntarily to overhaul the structure and prevent further issues. "It's something where we have to start with the problem, the area around the building," he explained. "We feel like we could reopen, but I don't want to run the risk the second time." Uhh, that would be a third time, Mr. Bowien.
We reached out to the Health Department for details on the closure and we'll update when we hear back.
[Update] The Health Department released the following statement to us:
Mission Chinese restaurant was closed because it has a significant mouse infestation that requires correction. In addition, the inspection found food held at unsafe temperatures, and conditions that contribute to the presence of pests. Mice were the reason the restaurant was closed in October. Once they have hired a pest control firm to correct the problem, they can request a reopening inspection. Once reopened, the restaurant can choose to post a grade pending, or a C grade until the inspection is adjudicated at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.