Freshly fried fish and BBQ pork ribs are off the menu to the dismay of 99 Ranch Market customers.
The reason is that a group of residents are crying foul over an odor that they say is creeping into their neighborhood from the international grocery store.
"I've had days where working in my garage I've had to go in the house because it is just so strong and smoky," said resident Paul Davies. "It's actually burning the back of your throat."
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) stepped in after receiving more than 200 complaints over a three month period. As a result the grocery chain was slapped with two public nuisance violations.
"They were not just the regular fresh fish oil," said Mohsen Nazemi from AQMD. "They were fried fish and burned odor. Odors that are not pleasant in high intensity."
In response, 99 Ranch Market voluntarily shutdown the rotisserie and fish fryers in order to mitigate the alleged cooking odors. Attorney Bryon Gee represents the grocery store and believes his client isn't to blame.
"A number of complaints still continue to come in after they suspended all their operation," said Gee. "Which led the 99 Ranch Market to believe that there may be some other sources of odors that were in the area."
In the hot food section, only broiled and steamed options are available. While in the seafood department, complimentary fish frying has been suspended.
"They can't do it anymore which is terrible," said customer Mike Mapile.
The owners of 99 Ranch Market have hired a consultant to help pinpoint the odor and to come up with solutions.
For now the stir-fry area will be for boiling only, and the fryers will remain off until store owners and the AQMD board can talk and discuss the results of the consultants report.
To report foul smell or air quality problems to the AQMD, call 800-CUT-SMOG