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UPDATED: Banana Cafe Reopens After Reported Vermin Infestation

by Andrew Ramonas June 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm 9,991 7 Comments

Banana Cafe

(Updated at 6:40 p.m.) Banana Cafe on Barracks Row is now open following a food safety and hygiene inspection that the D.C. Department of Health said turned up a “heavy infestation of vermin.”

A DOH inspector discovered a “gross insanitary occurrence or condition that may endanger public health including but not limited to heavy infestation of vermin” at the restaurant and piano bar at 500 8th St. SE, the agency said.

The eatery, which features Cuban, Puerto Rican and Tex-Mex cuisine, received the DOH closure order Monday. The restaurant has since passed a follow-up DOH inspection and was serving customers tonight, Banana Cafe manager Jorge Rivera said.

The restaurant has “no problem,” he said.

Banana Cafe was one of two 8th Street SE eateries closed this week due to vermin problems, according to DOH. Capitol Hill Tandoor & Grill at 419 8th St. SE, has been closed since yesterday under an order by the agency.

  • Hill Resident

    I just walked by and saw folks eating in Banana. Did the clean and reopen that fast?

    • Bryan Doyle

      Thanks for this — the restaurant was closed earlier today. We will follow up.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Vermin infestation? Is this where congressmen hang out?

  • 50 Years on the Hill

    I have eaten at Banana Cafe for years and had no problems. The food is always fresh, the waitstaff friendly and professional. The article about the temporary closing (one and a half days) seemed like overkill. Major media notices about closings are short, and without adjectives.

    • Jenny M

      It’s not overkill to alert the public that a place where they’re paying for food is infested with vermin. It may not matter to you, but it’s important to a lot of people. While the restaurant was able to quickly clean, the patrons who purchased food before the inspection were purchasing it from an eatery that had a heavy vermin infestation and it took action from the city to stop that.

      • 50 Years on the Hill

        In place of overkill, I should have used dishonest. I called the Department of Health on the 17th and was told that inspection reports are not made public, even to reporters, for 5 days. The inspection took place on the 15th. So I will continue to search for a public copy of the report to find out what the problems really were.

        • Adria Woods

          My friend just sent me this article after i got food poisoning from here this past Monday July 20th. I also have eaten here for about 5 years with no incident until now. The way i felt all night Monday and Tuesday morning was enough to make me never want to go here again.


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