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Philippe's reopens after cockroach incident

February 12, 2010 12:37:56 AM PST
Philippe the Original, a famous downtown Los Angeles eatery, reopened on Friday after being closed for cockroach infestation.A "notice of closure" sign was posted outside the restaurant on North Alameda Street, stating the official reason for the closure from the health department as vermin harborage and vermin infestation. But when doors reopened, it was apparent that the health-inspection closure did not hurt business at all.

"Cockroaches have been around forever, and it's tough to deal with them," said Roberto, a patron.

Inspectors returned to the restaurant Friday morning and determined the problem was resolved. Philippe's reopened by 11 a.m.

County health officials say the restaurant, known for its French dip sandwiches, was forced to close its doors after a health inspector paid a visit following a number of complaints. The inspector confirmed the complaints and found some bugs.

Since the inspection, Philippe's took steps to clean up the problem, calling in an exterminator to work throughout the night. Windows were covered with butcher paper early Friday morning.

"We contract with a fully licensed, top of the line pest control service that we use on a monthly basis, a deep-cleaning kitchen cleaning company that we contract for on a weekly basis, and follow stringent cleaning procedures on a daily basis," read a statement from the restaurant.

No one from Philippe's would talk to Eyewitness News on camera, but off camera, a spokesperson insisted it was just one cockroach that the inspector found. Still, that was enough to shut the place down.

Philippe's has been operating for more than 100 years and is a popular location among locals. Customers said the incident will not stop them from eating there.

"I've eaten here a lot. I've never seen anything," said customer Chris Petrillo. "It's kind of shocking, but I mean, I love this place. It's a landmark, and I'm grateful that they're going to be back in business."