A Chicago Ridge restaurant kept its doors open Tuesday after the owner paid a $100 fine for sanitation violations.
But it was close to having its doors shut by the village.
Additionally, Flaming Grill Buffet agreed to pay food and beverage taxes it owes the village by the end of the day Wednesday, Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar said.
The restaurant, 101 Commons Drive, has paid the village the food and beverage tax for November and December, but still owes for May through October, Tokar said.
The restaurant owners failed to show up Monday for a village hearing intended to discuss the food and beverage tax owed to the village.
Monday’s hearing was the second in a month that restaurant representatives failed to attend. They initially were scheduled to appear at a Jan. 28 hearing.
Tokar said a notice of both meetings was sent to the restaurant via certified mail and a copy was hand delivered. Tokar continued the first hearing to Monday and said failure to show up would result in a business license suspension.
“There was supposed to be a hearing (Monday) but someone didn’t show up,” he said. “I had the impression he had the understanding that he had to be here. I don’t know what else to do.”
Tokar said Monday that the restaurant’s license would be suspended the following day, but the decision was reversed Tuesday when Flaming Grill paid the fine for sanitation violations found by village inspectors in January.
Restaurants and bars are required to a pay a monthly 1 percent food and beverage tax to the village. The restaurant last week paid two months’ worth of the tax, but was told by Tokar that he owes payments for every month that the restaurant has been open. The owner disagrees because restaurant ownership changed hands in late 2013.
Restaurant ownership did appear at last week’s village board meeting to have a license transfer approved, Tokar said.
The sanitation issues were identified in January by village health inspector Rich Ruge who said he was concerned with the way the Flaming Grill has been conducting its day-to-day operations and ticketed the restaurant in for some sanitation violations.
Ruge said he made a routine inspection on Jan. 15 and saw some things he didn’t like and gave the restaurant officials time to conform. But when he returned on Jan. 20, the restaurant was still “not following the best-case practice for Chicago Ridge.”
He wouldn’t get specific on what he saw but said “it was nothing severe that would cause us to close it down.’’ He said he identified some sub-par sanitation practices that required immediate attention. When he conducted a follow-up inspection, the restaurant had not rectified the problems and Ruge issued a ticket, he said.
The buffet serves a mixture of Japanese and Chinese cuisine, opened in the former Old Country Buffet location. The restaurant also features American food, desserts and a hibachi grill.
— Jeff Vorva contributed to this report