Lafayette Coney Island remains closed due to health violations

Posted at 5:34 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-08 02:28:51-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "Lafayette just happens to have that atmosphere that I like. It's a little bit divey which I know got them into trouble," said Cody Wansedel who has eaten at Lafayette Coney Island.

"I'm part of a group that's called Next Door and it’s information about things that are happening in the neighborhood. A lot of people spoke about it. Disappointed,” said Carolyn James who has eaten at Lafayette Coney Island.

“You give it a second thought… Especially, if you’re with your family. You don’t want to have anybody get foodborne illness or something along those lines. So, it’s makes you think about it,” said Jason Hahn who has eaten at Lafayette Coney Island.

Lafayette Coney Island remains closed because of rat droppings.

During interviews with 7 Action News in September, the owner’s son said a garden next door and vacant building space are to blame.

“We know we gotta tighten up, clean up, and that’s what we’re doing," said Samir Purovic, son of Lafayette Coney Island's owner.

In an effort to understand the severity of the violation at Lafayette, 7 Action News scheduled a sit down interview at the Detroit Health Department with the city's chief public health officer Denise Fair Razo.

“We have done, to date, about 1700 inspections. We’ve only closed about 1 or 2 sites. So, it’s not common for us to close locations. We don’t enjoy enforcement. It’s something that we have to do,” said Denise Fair Razo, Detroit Health Department Chief Public Health Officer.

Razo says, for the most part, most of Detroit's nearly 2,000 restaurants are following guidelines.

Routine, annual inspections are unannounced.

If a violation cannot be corrected during the inspection, the inspector will come back within 30 days.

Razo says what surfaced at Lafayette is out of the ordinary.

7 Action News asked Razo how May's inspection report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which is now also available online, played into what happened just recently?

"So Lafayette’s last routine inspection was in May. It was a pretty fair review. We only saw that there was some gnats in the facility which can be corrected,” said Razo.

Only gnats.

But 30 days later, she says the health department received a complaint about rodents in the facility.

And, that inspectors found a small amount of rat droppings.

30 days after that, a video surfaced on social media prompting inspectors to return, and shut the place down in September.

Since then, Razo says the restaurant has called the health department more than once saying the issues are fixed and they’re ready to reopen.

However, she says holes need to closed to stop the infestation and the entire facility still needs to be cleaned, including the dining area and basement..

“And there are still rat droppings. It’s like they haven’t made any progress at all. Which is really disappointing. Lafayette is a staple in the City of Detroit. We want them to open up. But we want them to operate in a very safe and healthy environment. And they’re just not there yet right now,” Razo added.