The Chicago Department of Public Health temporarily shut down Rockit Burger Bar after an inspection last Tuesday where they found live rodents, mice droppings, and the smell of rodent urine in the basement where a walk-in freezer and dry food storage pantry are located. The restaurant, which is located at 3700 N Clark Street, across from Wrigley Field, blames the Cubs and their stadium construction project for dispersing rodents all across the neighborhood. Given the current state of the Wrigley renovations, the Cubs make for a convenient scapegoat in this situation.
However, a look at the city's data portal shows that last Tuesday's failing grade with the health department is not an isolated incident. Let's go through the lowlights of Rockit Burger's previously failed health inspections:
July 27, 2010: Rat droppings were observed in the basement and outside the walk-in cooler. I wonder if they blamed the Cubs back then, too? They also noted that cooked ground beef wasn't stored at cold enough temperatures. I took an introductory food science class in college and I'm pretty sure that was one of the first things they taught us.
September 16, 2011: This one was a doozy. For one, the food wasn't stored at cold enough temperatures again. Seriously, how hard is it to change the temperature in the refrigerator to the proper level? There was also no hot water provided throughout the premises. Inspectors also found a black slime substance dripping into the water where the ice is made. I'm not sure what the big deal was there, it was probably just a flavor enhancer. But most hilariously, a chef shook the health inspector's hand and then, without washing his hands, went and picked up a piece of cooked meat with his bare hands and put it on a serving plate.
July 5, 2013: The health inspector busted them for a leaky sink faucet, which is petty. Rockit was also slapped for not maintaining its outside garbage area, noting there was excess grease build up on the ground, along with cigarette butts and other debris. Seriously, guys? Just put your crap in the garbage.
July 30, 2013: To be fair, Rockit actually passed this inspection, but with conditions. The health inspector came back to inspect the restaurant again after receiving a failing grade earlier in the month and discovered that not only was the outside garbage area still a mess, but there were rat droppings there, too. But it was cool because the manager instructed an employee to clean it up, which is probably why the health department let it slide that time. The inspector also noted that Rockit did not have its previous violation report posted and visible to customers. I can't come up with a reason as to why they wouldn't want to shine a light on their health code report.
May 30, 2014: The inspector told them to repair a leaky faucet head, which again, is pretty petty. The inspector also found dirt and grime in the water made to use ice. Although, this time, the slime in the machine was not black, rather pink. I believe that same ooze that was the enemy in a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers movie.
March 10, 2015: The report just says: "No entry."
And then there was the incident last Tuesday. That's a lot of violations and failed inspections. Meanwhile, Evanston now lists its health code scores on Yelp.