A Blue Hill Ave. restaurant was abruptly closed today after a city task force discovered filthy conditions and a dangerously clogged air vent above the stove. City officials — who descended on the 300 block of Blue Hill Ave. this week to focus on a burgeoning rat problem — were alarmed by what they found inside the Star Island Restaurant at 375 Blue Hill Ave.
"The basement was piled with trash. There were insects and roaches inside. And the vent was a mess, nothing but grease in there," explained Darryl Smith, assistant commissioner of the city's Inspectional Services Department. Smith heads up the Mayor's Neighborhood Response Team for the Blue Hill Corridor and was on site inspecting the restaurant and other businesses nearby.
The Boston Fire Department ruled that the business must close until they properly clean their vents. The department has made vent inspections a priority since the 2007 fire at Tai Ho restaurant in West Roxbury  killed two Boston firemen.
"The restaurant will stay closed until they get this vent cleaned properly and clean the place up," Smith told the Reporter. The restaurant would likely remain closed until next week, Smith said, when the owners can appear at a city hall hearing on the issue.
The NRT has set rodent traps around the restaurant and other properties in the area after numerous complaints about rodents from residents. Smith said he personally observed several rats in the neighborhood during an NRT walk-through earlier this week.
"There were burrows everywhere and there were rats running around in broad daylight," he said. The NRT team - which brings together multiple city agencies to focus resources on trouble spots— will be setting traps throughout the rest of the week, he said.