The owner of a chowder restaurant in Vancouver is apologizing after a customer allegedly found a dead rat inside a bowl of soup.
Ashton Phillips, owner of Crab Park Chowdery, says two women were in his restaurant on Dec. 27 when they made the alleged discovery. He says staff apologized, gave them a refund and a $100 gift card. He said the situation ended with the women leaving the restaurant amicably.
Later that same day, a video of the occurrence was posted to Instagram. It has since gained thousands of views, hundreds of negative comments and has resulted in several complaints to Vancouver Coastal Health.
“Today my friend ordered Manhattan clam chowder and (it) had a little surprise in it,” the poster wrote.
Phillips told CTV Vancouver that there is no way a rodent would be able to get into their product as the soup is cooked in a different kitchen and stored in large plastic bins with secure lids.
“We’re kind of in shock over it all,” said Phillips. “We’ve gone through rigorous, rigorous amounts of work to make sure that we offer the best possible health and safety standards.”
Inspectors have allowed Crab Park Chowdery to remain open, but a rented off-site kitchen space where the soups are prepared has been closed.
Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson Tiffany Akins told CTV Vancouver that inspectors found “evidence of rodents” at the space, which is located inside Mamie Taylor’s, a separate restaurant in Chinatown.
Phillips said staff at Crab Park Chowdery have dumped out all remaining soups and started remaking the dishes from scratch.
However, the eatery has reportedly had previous issues regarding rodents.
Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed there were signs of rodents, specifically rat droppings, during an inspection at the Gastown spot back in February, but it appears the problems were addressed that same month.
A follow-up inspection conducted on Feb. 23 did not find issues with rodents, nor did later routine inspections done in April and October.
With the video continuing to gain attention online and resulting in dozens of new one-star reviews on Yelp and Google, Phillips said he is worried he will have to close up shop.
“I built this thing from the ground up. We’ve been here for two years now and to have a video or just a picture — sorry, I’m going to get emotional,” said Phillips. “A video or a picture just threaten to implode all of that is really unfortunate.”