The last thing a restaurant diner wants to do is share a meal with a rodent or eat off a dirty plate.
That's why the province's Health Department has inspectors who fan out across the city and the province to shut down restaurants that fail to keep rodents out or keep their premises clean.
Peter Parys, director of the environmental health branch, said 54 health inspectors are responsible for 4,500 food establishments in the province, including restaurants and grocery stores.
All establishments are inspected, but they pay extra attention to restaurants, he said.
"Restaurants are routinely inspected once to three times a year," he said. "More if necessary."
Parys said the ultimate penalty for a restaurant is to be closed by a health inspector, but with only a couple of dozen closures each year, he believes "almost all operators are conscientious."
"They are in business to serve a food product and have a customer come back," he said.
The Health Department continually updates its list of restaurants and food-service establishments that were closed after inspectors found violations.
Provincial health inspectors have always patrolled the province's restaurants and those in Winnipeg suburbs, but it has only been since April 1, 2012, that they have begun checking eateries in the city's pre-1972 boundaries.
Parys said they receive tips from the public.
"We'll go in and investigate when we get a call."
Unburger was closed last year, but has since reopened.
Marc Priestley, co-owner of Unburger, said his Osborne Village restaurant was forced to close after water flooded it Oct. 27.
"We came in Sunday morning and the whole place was under water," Priestley said Friday.
"I called my brothers and dad and we all started mopping. We figured the show must go on... we threw out all the food that got wet and we tried phoning our health inspector, but couldn't reach her.
"On Monday when we got hold of her, she said shut it down."
Priestley said the restaurant reopened Dec. 20 after health inspectors checked out the renovations.
He said the flood forced them to replace the walls, floor and ceiling before they could open the doors again.