On July 17, the Department of Health closed M Street Mexican restaurant Bandolero following a failed health inspection report, WUSA reporter Russ Ptacek first reported Tuesday.
The health report—which can be accessed online—cites seven violations; six or more earn an establishment a “summary suspension,” and it is closed until issues are addressed. Bandolero’s infractions included water temperatures outside the safety zone, unclean food prep surfaces, and “lots of flies in the kitchen.” DOH rep Ronnie Paylor confirmed that the department shuttered Bandolero on the 17th, allowing it to reopen the next day following a subsequent inspection.
Part-owner Jonathan Umbel—also owner of neighboring Tacklebox—tells Best Bites that the inspector arrived during service on the 17th and discovered water temperatures just five degrees outside of permissible temperatures. As far as the flies were concerned, Umbel, who was present during the inspection, says there were no more than three.
Ptacek reports that “an unnamed employee” claimed the inspection was a result of conflict with Bandolero’s landlords—since 2011, Umbel has been mired in a bitter ongoing civil litigation lawsuit with building owners 2441 Bond St. Equities LLC, who seek to evict both Bandolero and Tacklebox.
While Mike Isabella’s involvement in the project has come under scrutiny in the press, Umbel maintains that the Kapnos/Graffiato toque is and has been a chef/partner in the project and is responsible for the food there. Reached Wednesday via a rep, Isabella opted not to comment on the restaurant’s recent suspension.