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Closed: June 16
Reopened: June 17
History: Oriental Deli has racked up 12 violations on three separate occasions since 2001. The charges have included evidence of mice, evidence of roaches, plumbing fixtures in poor repair, unclean food contact surfaces, and uncovered and unprotected food on display.
Health Department Says: vermin infestation, failure to comply with health department notice
Business Says: Rats are a city problem. “You know how D.C. is,” explains owner Henry Melara. On a recent Saturday, the store was bare except for a trash can, a TV showing the World Cup, empty display cases, and the smell of old produce. Melara’s father was shucking corn, niblets stuck to his forearms. As for the rats, the younger Melara admits they are a problem. “The alleys—it’s a fight, man,” he says. “It’s a fight. The alleys are infested with those things. We need to fight them so much. We need to put poison, all the little holes from the back door we need to close. Everything, man. D.C. is terrible,” he says.