When provincial inspectors closed the Marigold Restaurant on Portage Avenue in October for health violations, its management never dreamed it would be closed an entire month.
The Health Department found a leaky roof, a "mouse infestation" and "filthy surfaces throughout," according to a report on the government's website.
Jean Giesbrecht, the eatery's assistant manager, said Tuesday the report was overly harsh, particularly its comment about a mouse infestation. She said the Marigold has an ongoing contract with an exterminator, which sets traps.
"There was one dead (mouse)," she admitted.
The Marigold was closed for a whole month, not because of the severity of its health problems but because of problems with a contractor hired to upgrade its kitchen, Giesbrecht said. "I don't want to make a situation that's been unfortunate worse," she said, referring to the optics of the lengthy closure.
The restaurant installed stainless-steel flooring beneath its woks (replacing old tile, which was difficult to keep clean), replaced ceiling tiles and did other kitchen fix-ups during the closure. The roof repairs took two weeks.
Since last April 1, the province has been carrying out all restaurant inspections in Winnipeg. Before that, the city and province shared inspection duties in the Manitoba capital, with city staff keeping an eye on eateries within the city's pre-1972 boundaries and the province doing inspections in the suburbs.
Updates on health violations concerning food-service establishments, swimming pools and body-modification establishments can be found on the provincial Health Department's website (www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/protection/report.html).
Details on closures and the reasons for closures are updated to Jan. 1.
A year ago, Manitoba auditor general Carol Bellringer found the province had fallen behind the city in the frequency of restaurant inspections at a time when it was about to assume sole responsibility for the task. The province promised to maintain the same frequency of inspections in areas the city previously handled, while boosting inspections in the suburbs.
Peter Parys, director of the province's environmental health branch, said the government has been keeping that promise.
"We have the same number of resources in the inner city as we did prior to the transition," he said late Tuesday, adding the transition to provincial control has "gone very smoothly."
More resources have also gone into inspecting suburban restaurants, he said. Over time, the goal is to inspect restaurants in all parts of the city with equal frequency, he said.
Restaurants named in report
Tasty Chinese Cuisine, 29 Regent Ave. W, closed Dec. 28, 2012: Closed for three days due to rodent infestation, food cross-contamination, improper food storage, unsanitary conditions.
Prairie Ink Restaurant and Bakery, 1120 Grant Ave., closed Nov. 6: Closed for one day due to unsanitary conditions and because dishwasher failed to sanitize dishes to 71 C.
Marigold Restaurant, 2591 Portage Ave., closed Oct. 5: Closed for one month due to mice infestation, leaking roof and "filthy surfaces throughout."
The Nook Diner, 43 Sherbrook St., closed Oct. 1: Closed for part of the day. Dishwasher failed to heat utensils, dishes to 71 C for at least 10 seconds.
Jade Inn, 535 Osborne St., closed Sept. 24: Closed for four days. Failure to keep establishment clean and in good repair.
Buccacino's Cucina Italiano, 155 Osborne St., closed Sept. 13: Closed for one day due to a rodent infestation.
Skinner's, 1 Forks Market Rd., closed Aug. 31: Evidence of mice infestation; dirty conditions. Re-opened the same day.
Sawatdee Thai Restaurant, 150 Provencher Blvd., closed July 19: Closed one day due to broken dishwasher and blocked sink drain.
Ricky Ricardo's Restaurant and Bar, 680 Elizabeth Rd., closed July 18: Closed for a month after failing to avoid risk of food cross-contamination, failing to maintain safe internal temperature of potentially hazardous foods, failing to correctly thaw potentially hazardous food. (Note: A new restaurant under new management has since opened up at that location)
Pizza Shack, 589 Sargent Ave., closed July 8: Filthy conditions throughout premises. Closed two days.
Stuff it Foods, 1 Forks Market Rd., closed July 1: Filthy conditions throughout the outdoor mobile unit. Reopened the same day.
India Spice House, 1875 Pembina Hwy., closed May 8: Rodent infestation. Closed for one day.
Divine Dogs, 293 Smart St.: closed May 1: Filthy conditions on cart and other equipment. Closed one day.
Kenko Niwa, 631 Corydon Ave., closed May 2: Rodent infestation and food-area contamination. Reopened two days later.
Tang Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, P-730 St. Anne's Rd., closed April 25: Dishwasher and triple sink not operating. No reopen date listed.
Pizza Bite Take Out & Delivery, 75 Sherbrook St., closed April 19: Insufficient hot water; disrepair. No reopen date listed.
Idol Asian Cuisine, 7-1910 Pembina Hwy., closed April 12: Filthy conditions throughout. Closed one day.
Casa Burrito, 520 Portage Ave., closed Feb. 6: Inadequate refrigeration. Closed three days.
Rasoi on Corydon, 645 Corydon Ave, closed Feb. 2: No dishwashing equipment available. Closed two weeks.
-- source: Health Protection Report, Closures for insanitary operating conditions, Manitoba Health, as of Jan. 1, 2013.