LINCOLN, Maine — A popular Chinese restaurant on Main Street that closed voluntarily to address 18 health code violations earlier this week reopened its doors Friday with a clean bill of health.
Workers at Wing Wah corrected all but the most minor violations found Tuesday by Sharron Hinckley, an inspector with the Health Inspection Program of the Division of Environmental Health of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, a state official said.w
The remaining violations “are not critical to food preparation and serving safe food. These are things that need to be done, but they don’t need to be done today in order to open,” Nancy Beardsley, director of the Division of Environmental Health, said Friday.
“Based on the inspection today, we would not have opened them if we didn’t believe that they were serving safe food,” Beardsley added. “It appears to me that they [restaurant workers] have done a great deal of work since the inspector was first out there.”
The uncorrected violations found Friday include a knife drawer and a sink used for food preparation that need cleaning. Some stored food still needed proper labeling. Food-grade containers for food storage are on order, as are chemical test strips that measure sanitizer levels. The restaurant’s manager, Lauralee Stevens, has signed up to take a state safe-serve class, Beardsley said.
The restaurant also has 30 days to remove and refinish some walls and trim boards in the basement food preparation area and 90 days to clean some ceiling areas, Beardsley said.
When reached at the restaurant on Friday, Stevens said only that the restaurant had opened at 1 p.m., then hung up.
Wing Wah for many years has been a popular Lincoln Lakes region eatery and bar with country-style booths, carpeting and wood paneling. It is known for drawing large crowds on holidays and Thursday nights. The restaurant’s Internet Facebook page, called “I Love Wing Wah!” had 716 members as of Friday night.
An inspection at Wing Wah in 2006 found eight violations, including three critical ones, while an inspection in 2004 listed two violations, including one critical.
Among the 18 violations found Tuesday were seven marked “critical” because they could contribute to food-borne illness. No food-borne illnesses have been reported at Wing Wah, but the violations still forced the state inspector to urge the restaurant’s owners to opt for a voluntary closure, an unusual step.
Of the 1,100 inspections of eateries statewide from September 2008 to July 2009, closure was recommended 15 times, state officials estimated.
Hinckley will do another inspection in 30 days, Beardsley said.