At their regular meeting Wednesday, the Lexington Board of Health discussed the recent temporary closure of Bertucci’s in Lexington Center following the restaurant’s failed health inspection earlier this month.
A few months ago, Bertucci’s in Lexington Center was among several restaurants throughout the Greater Boston area where local health inspectors discovered sanitary issues related to housing ghost kitchens, or virtual restaurants, as reported by the Boston Globe. But when Assistant Health Director Alicia McCartin conducted another health inspection of Bertucci’s Sept. 12, she found several separate violations of the state’s Food Code “that lead to the determination that an imminent health hazard exists,” according to the Sept. 13 emergency closure order.
This inspection was “particularly egregious,” Health Director Joanne Belanger said during Wednesday’s meeting. McCartin’s most alarming observation was that Bertucci’s had a mouse infestation “throughout the establishment,” per the emergency closure order.
The order also referenced raw chicken being stored above raw seafood, dirty floors and walls, leaking refrigerator units and floor drains in need of cleaning among additional violations.
“We don’t go out there with the intention of closing restaurants; that doesn’t make us happy,” Belanger said. “We want restaurants to be open, and we do our best to keep them open by making sure that they do stay clean, and they do serve safe food, and they do train their employees, and they have all the regulations in place – that helps the business and it helps the consumer.”
McCartin conducted another inspection of Bertucci’s 10 days later on Sept. 22, and found that the restaurant had addressed all violations and was able to reopen. In that interim, Bertucci’s did an “extensive cleaning,” Belanger said, and removed and replaced several pieces of equipment.
Now, Bertucci’s “should look new and different to people,” Belanger said.
A Bertucci’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment by press time.