6 Sunvalley Mall restaurants shut down in Concord for rat, cockroach infestations

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Contra Costa County Health officials are investigating a rat and cockroach infestation at the Sunvalley Mall that shut down six restaurants. The businesses are back open now, but face an administrative hearing with the health department and district attorney.

The bulk of the restaurants are located in the food court on the first floor, but two were on the second floor and one of those was all the way at the other end of the mall. It makes health officials think this is a bigger problem.

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The food court looks new and it's busy, but last week it was a different scene.

"The food court last week there was actually yellow caution tape all around this whole entire area," said Delores Bennett, a JCPenney employee. Bennett says she and her coworkers had no idea why. "We had no knowledge of a rat infestation."

Five restaurants have been closed due to rats and one from cockroach infestations by Contra Costa County Environmental Health:
  • Yoshi Food Service closed on May 17, 2018 due to cockroach infestation.

  • Tomi Japanese Seafood Buffet closed on May 17, 2018 and Aug. 13, 2018 due to cockroach and rodent infestation.

  • Johnny Rockets closed on Aug. 9, 2018 due to a rodent infestation.

  • Charley's Philly Steaks #925 closed on Aug. 15, 2018 due to a rodent infestation.

  • Chicken Connection/Cilantro closed on Aug. 15, 2018 due to a rodent infestation.

  • Lotus Epxress/Suki Hana closed on Aug. 15, 2018 due to a rodent infestation.

"This is very unusual to have this many facilities at a mall affected at roughly the same time," explained Joe Doser, Contra Costa County Environmental Health.

"That concerns me a lot actually because a lot of my coworkers do come here to the food court every day for lunch and that's just not healthy. It's not safe," said Bennett.

Last week an inspector actually saw a live rat while investigating a complaint in addition to other evidence of rodent contamination.

Doser says the live rat was particularly alarming, "It's unusual to see a live rodent out in the daylight while there are people around. It was probably a heavy enough infestation that the rodents felt comfortable there."

He says the physical distance between the restaurants that were involved is also a major concern.

"Cause there's obviously a systemic problem that's not just individual restaurants it's involving the mall itself," said Doser.

Mall management shared this statement: "Tenants are responsible for complying with all health department regulations. Upon learning of the situation, our management team stepped in to help quickly remedy the situation, and the food court is open after receiving clearance from the inspector."

Businesses are back open.

"We wouldn't let them reopen unless we felt it was safe to the consumers to go back," said Doser.

Now business owners will face an administrative hearing with the district attorney's office as health officials try to prevent this from happening again. There were no reported cases of illness related to the contaminated restaurants.

For more stories, photos, and video on recent restaurant inspections, visit this page.
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