ASHLAND – Cherry Blossom re-opened on Independence Fay, after failing a health inspection on June 29 and on July 1.
The Ashland Board of Health met last night, July 7, and discussed the restaurant, which has a history of violations.
The Board ultimately decided not to fine the owner for violations, citing the restaurant already had six days of lost business due to the failed inspection, could be facing a state fine from the MassDEP of up to $10,000, and will have to pay for the inspections to the Town of Ashland.
Trouble started for Cherry Blossom on June 29, when the fire department was called to 80 Union Street for a grease fire.
As required by the Town, the building inspector and the health department were called to inspect and determine if the restaurant could open post the fire. Ashland’s food inspector discovered multiple health code violations. The Chair of the Ashland Board of Health Diane Mortensen was called to the restaurant too.
She described the restaurant as “absolutely filthy,” Mortensen said the kitchen was “totally unacceptable.”
“All surfaces in the kitchen had grease,” said Mortensen to her fellow Board of Health members last night. “The hood vents were dripping with grease.”
She said after witnessing the filth and grease in the kitchen, the restaurant was ordered closed.
On July 1, Ashland re-inspected Cherry Blossom, and found several of the violation had not been corrected.
On July 4, after a professional cleaning company was called in, Cherry Blossom passed an Ashland health inspection, and was allowed to re-open.
Cherry Blossom manager Amie Harden told the Board of Health she was sorry. She said she hired the professional cleaning company.
Harden was told she needs to keep the restaurant as spotless as it was on July 4th, every day.
But her troubles are not over, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is investigating the restaurant for disposing of grease down a catch basin on their property. The catch basin is for rainwater only.
Harden told the Board of Health that employees may have also put greasy mop water down the basin.
The catch basin drains into the Sudbury River, according to Mortensen said.
MassDEP is investigating the incident, and the restaurant could face a $10,000 state fine.