June 17, 2024

Popular Augusta restaurant reopens a day after closing due to health, safety violations

Restaurant 99 in Augusta, which was closed Thursday due to health and safety code violations, reopened Friday according to city officials. The bar and restaurant at 281 Civic Center Drive is part of a national chain that serves pub-style food. Ashley Allen/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA – Restaurant 99, which Augusta city officials closed Thursday due to health and safety violations, reopened a day later.

Rob Overton, director of the city’s Bureau of Code Enforcement, said via text Saturday that the restaurant reopened Friday.

“We authorized them to open yesterday evening (Friday),” Overton said. “They did an incredible amount of work and addressed the critical issues to our satisfaction.”

The restaurant, at 281 Civic Center Drive, was ordered to temporarily close Thursday due to a large leak in the sprinkler system and “a significant amount of wastewater in the basement.”

A call to the restaurant Saturday indicated the restaurant is now open, but no one at the restaurant was allowed to speak to a reporter. A call to the corporate office Saturday was not immediately returned.

The Augusta Fire Department highlighted several issues after firefighters responded to the restaurant Wednesday following an alert that the restaurant’s fire alarm had detected a flow of water. They noted that there was a leak in the sprinkler system that sprayed water into the bar seating area and soaked parts of the electrical system. A second leak was noticed in the women’s bathroom.

Other violations included a faulty fire alarm system, serious electrical problems in the building, grease behind and near cooking equipment, an unsanitary kitchen area, mold in the basement, spoiled food in the walk-in refrigerator and blocked or unlit emergency exits.

Overton inspected the restaurant at 11 a.m. Thursday and ordered it closed.

Bialann 99 passed its last recorded state health inspection on January 4, 2022, but had five “non-critical” violations of food sanitation measures and restaurant cleanliness.

On Thursday, a company spokesman said all the chain’s restaurants must comply with local health and safety guidelines and could not comment further. Additionally, he would not comment on whether the national restaurant chain would pay employees for the time they were scheduled to work while the Augusta location is closed.

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