A beloved Chicago seafood restaurant is serving its smoked fish and shrimp in time for the holidays after passing its latest health inspection.
The Chicago Department of Public Health ordered Calumet Fisheries, located at 3259 E. 95th St., to close Oct. 31 after health inspectors found evidence of rodents. It failed another inspection a week later after officials found about 150 mice or rat droppings in the basement and in a storage area, according to public health data.
But it passed its Friday inspection, something co-owner Mark Kotlick said he’s “real happy” about. Kotlick said they reopened Saturday morning after spending the previous day preparing smoked fish for customers.
“I’m just glad it’s all over with and hope it never happens again,” he said.
Kotlick said he made some improvements to the store to correct the violations, including calling an exterminator, repairing the floor and repainting. He said he’s frustrated the city ordered them to close in the first place, calling some of the reasons “BS” and not a “health problem.”
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“I’m not saying that we didn’t need to do some stuff, but we certainly didn’t need to shut down while we did it,” he said. “We lost three weeks’ worth of sales and quite a bit of money.”
The restaurant was initially cited for about a dozen other minor facility issues, such as leaky faucets and damaged floor tiles.
But Kotlick said he’s encouraged by the positive feedback he has received from customers and employees.
“It really says something about your food and your employees when customers are so excited to come back after what you went through. This was a comment from one of my many customers,” Kotlick said.
Calumet Fisheries is known for its smoked and fried seafood, dished out since 1948. It’s housed inside a tiny building with no dining room. It won an America’s Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2010.
Vice President Kamala Harris made an impromptu visit to the restaurant in January, ordering pepper garlic trout, smoked salmon and more. Anthony Bourdain also stopped by in 2009 for his show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel.