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Red Rok opens after droppings cleaned

– The country music was blaring, the brew was flowing and there was already a smattering of customers a little over an hour after the Red Rok Saloon reopened Friday evening.

It was a far cry from Thursday, when the downtown restaurant had to be closed after a food inspector found pest droppings and dead mice inside.

“It’s something you fear in the downtown area,” said Chris Wilson, managing partner of the restaurant. “And we had the brutal cold winter, and once the street got dug up it got worse.”

Acting on a tip, a food inspector with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health came to the restaurant Thursday.

He found droppings in clean pans stored on a shelf, more on the clean linens and even more around the baseboards and under a dish machine. The Department of Health forced the restaurant to close immediately after the inspection.

According to a food inspector’s report, a complaint about the restaurant came to the department on Wednesday. The complaint stated that “there is a major mice infestation at this establishment … mice are running all over the canned goods, pasta, floors and counters.”

When the inspector came into the restaurant on Thursday, he found “pest droppings” in many places as well as packs of pasta with holes “chewed through the product.” There was a large hole in the baseboard of one room and there were holes large enough to allow snow into another room, according to the report.

The person in charge of the restaurant said he was aware of the problem, according to the report, and that management had changed pest control companies that day.

There were traps all around the restaurant, one of which had ensnared a mouse before the inspector arrived. While the inspector was there, another trap snapped shut around the neck of another mouse, according to the report.

According to Wilson, the restaurant has employed a pest control company since opening. “We were trying to be proactive and go about things in the right way,” Wilson said.

The restaurant was ordered to remove all dead pests, live pests and get rid of all droppings.

Workers came in to help with the cleanup, Wilson said, and about 1 p.m. Friday the restaurant was given the OK to reopen.

“We appreciate the support and hope people will still patronize us,” Wilson said.