Cedar Point closes TGI Friday's for two days

SANDUSKY Faulty pipes, standing water, a foul odor and little flying insects -- all in that order --
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Faulty pipes, standing water, a foul odor and little flying insects -- all in that order -- led Cedar Point to close down TGI Friday's in Sandusky for most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday.

Cedar Point spokesman Robin Innes said the restaurant is expected to reopen at 11 a.m. today, though county health officials said the reopening depends on a final inspection this morning.

"They're going to call (our inspector) when they're done with their work and ready for their inspection," said Bob England, director of environmental health at Erie County Health Department. "They shouldn't be reopening until we go out there and everything is the way it should be."

England said a health inspector visited the restaurant on Tuesday, though it was unclear if restaurant employees or someone else had alerted the inspector about any problems.

"He documented they had issues, and the management came in," England said.

"(The manager) shut them down last night. It wasn't our action -- it was theirs."

The restaurant closed at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The initial problem was a strong, lingering odor.

"They were trying to ascertain where the odor was coming from," England said.

The employees discovered the odor was coming from the crawl space, which had filled with standing water that had leaked from faulty pipes. The standing water also served as a breeding ground for some flying insects -- such as gnats or fruit flies -- that got into the restaurant.

"We had to fix some piping and there was some water damage caused by a leak in the crawl-space area," Innes said. "That caused some wet areas there, and it also produced an odor. We had to dry that area out."

"There may be some pest issues with the standing water," England said. "It's possible in a crawl space, (that) it might be an ideal environment."

England said the restaurant has had plumbing issues in years past, but nothing of this magnitude. It has likely gone unnoticed for some time, he said, only rearing its ugly head in the past few days.

England said Wednesday evening workers were fixing the pipes and drying the water. Cleaners planned to release a bug bomb or spray insecticide Wednesday night.

A health inspector was also on scene Wednesday.

The health inspector is scheduled to visit the restaurant again this morning to ensure there was no contamination from insecticides or other material.

"We want to make sure when they open, they're ready to open," England said. "We have a good relationship with Cedar Point. They're being very conservative about it. They know the potential risk here; they were completely on board with us."

Cedar Point is the franchisee at the TGI Friday's on Cleveland Road. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and later on the weekends.