Last week we heard about a waffle joint in D.C. that blamed its closure on a Groupon deal and the company’s “shocking business practices.” But a new report checked in on the restaurant and found that while that definitely could’ve been the case, the waffle spot never had the permits allowing to legally sell food in the first place.
DCist.com reviewed the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs database and found that the business hadn’t received a basic business license or Certificate of Occupancy. Without that certificate specifically, the waffle spot didn’t have a “pre-operational inspection” from the D.C. Department of Health, which is required before any food establishment can open.
The DOH said it hadn’t inspected the waffle joint and had in fact, sent a cease-and-desist letter three weeks ago after inspectors received a complaint.
According to DCist, the owner gave an interview where he said the permitting process would’ve taken at least three months, but that he’d been fully prepared to complete it. Because of the Groupon snafu, however, he claims he never got the chance. He said because Groupon had delayed sending payments for the vouchers they sold to the waffle spot, they weren’t able to keep up with the costs of running the place.
“We had our knees knocked out from under us before we could complete [the whole process],” he said, adding that he never saw the cease-and-desist letter.
Was this a case of blaming the big bad wolf for the house that was already falling down, or would the restaurant have made it anyway? At this point, it’s hard to tell. But the owner said on the joint’s site that he’s already getting pressure to reopen, ostensibly with all proper permits in hand.
*Thanks for the tip, Gregory!