Luisa’s: The Inspection

The recently re-opened Luisa’s restaurant at 1851 Union St. had “a severe cockroach infestation throughout the facility,” a San Francisco health inspector said today.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health suspended the embattled restaurateur’s license after the kitchen of her flagship business failed a Dec. 6 health inspection, Principal Environmental Inspector Lisa O’Malley said. The restaurant was closed for a week while repairs were made to “dilapidated” walls, and exterminators cleared the place of roaches and mice.

The restaurant’s troubles with the health department come on the heels of a controversial takeover and closure by Hanson of the 40-year-old John Barleycorn pub at 1451 Larkin St. Barleycorn staff and patrons very publicly resisted the takeover, criticizing Hanson harshly. Even Supervisor Aaron Peskin chimed in, characterizing Hanson as a “mean nut.”

Now, the businesswoman faces new opposition, this time from the Department of Public Health. In an inspection Dec. 6th, O’Malley said Luisa’s racked up two “high-risk” violations, one medium-risk and four low-risk. The most serious violations include an infestation of cockroaches, and “adulterated” food. What was the food adulterated with, you ask?

“The cockroaches and the mouse droppings were on the food… on the tomatoes and potatoes,” which were being stored improperly, in open containers, O’Malley said.

Neither Hanson nor property manager David Pietras immediately returned calls seeking comment, but we’ll be sure to update our coverage if they do.

Meanwhile, O’Malley said, the restaurant closed for a week while workers repaired drywall, exterminators sprayed, and unsanitary non-stainless-steel kitchen fixtures were removed. On Dec. 14, the place was re-inspected and passed, O’Malley said.

“When we suspend a permit and they do a lot of work, it’s important that the department does a re-check every few weeks to make sure they’re staying on track. That’s something we’ll be doing,” O’Malley said. “If it reverts back to what we saw, we’ll go to a [SFDPH] director’s hearing and we’ll push for a revocation of her permit.”

Hanson’s entrepreneurial career has been tarnished by controversy in the past. The blog luisaconfidential reports that she has been involved in 57 distinct lawsuits since 1987, 41 as a defendant. Back in October, the San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that Hanson, “obtained licenses for more than 22 businesses in the past two decades, most of which closed within two years or never opened at all.”

Well, at least Luisa’s is back open, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be making a reservation there anytime soon.

Legal History: A Summary [Luisa Confidential]
John Barleycorn Must Die [San Francisco Bay Guardian]
Luisa’s health inspection score [SFDPH]


Luisa’s: The Inspection