DETROIT (FOX 2) – Lafayette Coney Island, a Detroit institution, was closed on Wednesday following a failed health inspection. The historic downtown Detroit staple was closed on Wednesday after videos of rats inside were posted on social media and health inspectors found feces inside.
Lafayette workers said the problem started with rats from a nearby garden making their way inside the building’s two empty spaces – then through holes in the Lafayette basement wall .
They covered all the windows late tonight and are closed until further notice.
Customers of Lafayette Coney Island recorded a video of rats inside the famous restaurant.
“I see rats, a mouse, Tom and Jerry,” said customer Dion Hastie who watched the video.
Someone tagged the city’s health department in the video Tuesday morning, and in turn immediately sent inspectors there.
“A couple of inspectors were there on site and they did their inspections, and they didn’t see any rats in the building but they did see rat droppings,” Denise Fair Razo said. “It’s a huge breach, it means the food they provide may not be safe.
Razo heads Detroit’s health department, which strongly encouraged Lafayette to temporarily shut down — and he did.
“But later in the afternoon they thought it was a good idea to reopen,” she said.
The health department said it sent out a cease and desist letter on Wednesday, closing the place until necessary changes are made.
For many, the news of the cone closing is as shocking as it is repugnant.
“They’re everywhere – and they’re not mice either – they’re rats,” Tanya White said.
Lafayette lovers mourn now.
“I don’t think I’ll go back after seeing this,” Patrick McCabe said.
And the reaction on social media has been merciless.
“I guess American Coney Island won the war,” Shar Shobe wrote, noting the long-standing rivalry between the two neighboring restaurants.
“I think the rats have spoken, I think they pick Lafayette too,” McCabe joked.
But no one wants to see a Detroit institution fall from favor. Many hope that Lafayette will bounce back.
“Lafayette is a staple in town, I go there too, I love the food,” Razo said. “But again, we want to make sure our restaurateurs are serving food in a safe environment and right now it’s not in Lafayette – until they clean up their restaurant.”
The city plans to return for an inspection in a few days and hopes Lafayette can reopen then. Some workers said the solution would be to plug the holes through which the rodents enter.
American Coney Island is next door and Razo said they also inspected it on Tuesday and found no evidence of rodents or health violations.