Old Town restaurant still open despite latest closure order


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A judge has once again ordered an Old Town restaurant to close immediately in an escalating battle with the city’s health department. Friday evening, the Backstreet Grill off the Old Town plaza was packed with customers, despite the latest order.

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Since the beginning of the year, the city has repeatedly issued closure orders and citations over the restaurant’s refusal to require employees to wear masks. Then in the spring, the health department revoked the restaurant’s health permit saying the management refused to cooperate with food safety inspectors.

The city says they have not been able to perform an inspection since January. Last month, the city secured a temporary restraining order, once again requiring the Backstreet Grill to close followed up by a cease and desist order Friday.

“We were forced to revoke Back Street Grill’s permit because they threatened and denied access to our inspectors, and repeatedly removed our lawfully posted inspection tag,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna in a news release, Acting Director for the City’s Environmental Health Department. “It’s unfair to all of the other regulated facilities who consistently meet our requirements. It’s our obligation to the law, our community, and other permit holders to pursue enforcement in this matter and bring them into compliance with the law.”

If the Backstreet Grill still refuses to close, the health department says it will go back to court to look at other possible remedies.

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