It was a case of unfortunate timing that resulted in the The LA County Health Department posting a closed notice in the front window of Vernetti Restaurant at 225 N. Larchmont Blvd. yesterday.
According to chef/owner Steve Vernetti, the restaurant’s pest control company had noticed several German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) near the back door of the restaurant and recommended a treatment that would bring the insects out of hiding and typically kill them within 48 hours. The treatment was done at 6 am on Tuesday morning. Just 24 hours later, on Wednesday morning, a health inspector arrived for Vernetti’s quarterly inspection.
“She saw two cockroaches on their backs, spinning but still alive, and unfortunately, her hands were tied, she had to call her supervisor and close us down. The law is really clear on that. If she had come the next day, she wouldn’t have seen anything and we would have earned a 97!” explained Vernetti, who spoke to Buzz shortly after leaving a meeting with LA County Health Department officials this morning.
The pest control company told Vernetti the construction next door was disturbing the insects, causing them to come through the walls of the restaurant. And the August heat and humidity were compounding the problem. Health department officials told Vernetti August is the worst month for restaurant owners and has the highest number of restaurant closures. Vernetti said he plans to step up his pest control efforts to stay ahead of the pests.
Vernetti explained that officials understood the situation was just bad timing. They told him they were impressed with his ongoing pest control efforts and would send another inspector out tomorrow.
“We are going to have another inspection tomorrow afternoon; they are going to remove the closure sign and give us an “A” grade,” said Vernetti.
But don’t be alarmed if you see a barricade up in front of the restaurant this weekend.
“Even though we will be approved to re-open, we are going to stay closed through the weekend so we can clean up and do some maintenance on the building,” said Vernetti. “We will be open Tuesday clean, healthy and bug-free!”
Update: On Friday, August 4, Steve Vernetti told us he’s been cleared of any bugs by the health department and has taken down the sign. There’s a barricade up while he does some repairs to the facade that was damaged when a car drove into it last October. Vernetti said another inspection is scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday when he hopes to get this “A” grade back.