Smokey Joe’s has reopened after two failed health inspections. The second re–inspection, which restored Smokes’ retail food license, occurred on July 29. 

Paul Ryan, the owner of Smokes’, said in an email on August 1: 

“Smoke's open. ‘No greater tyranny exists than power in the hands of a petty bureaucrat’. Samuel Johnson 1789.”

A slip from the Philadelphia Department of Health was plastered on the bar's door starting on Wednesday, July 25. It ordered Smokes' to cease operations and fix health code violations, and to close for at least 48 hours, after which point there would be a second inspection.

Photo: Son Nguyen

The first re–inspection happened on July 27th, but Smokes’ did not pass and needed to again wait the requisite 48 hours. A second re–inspection occured on the 29th, at which point it was allowed to reopen. There was a standard $315 fee for re–inspection.

Philly.com's Clean Plates project, which culls data from the health department on local restaurants, listed Smokes' on its website as one establishment ordered to close. 

The violations, discovered in the course of a routine inspection, resulted in an order to cease operations for "a minimum of 48 hours” effective July 25, and another, effective July 27, after the re–inspection. 

The July 25 report from the city's health department listed seven "foodborne illness risk factors." Three violations deal with handwashing and sinks, including signage reminding employees to wash hands. Another violation is the use of Raid and other at–home pesticides, which were found by the bar: the health code requires that all pesticides applied to a food facility be administered by a licensed applicator.

The inspection also found 11 counts of "lack of good retail practice,” including “visible evidence of rodent/insect activity,” “live roaches at the main bar,” and some issues with cleaning and dust buildup.

The re–inspection conducted on July 27th found zero foodborne illness risk factors but 14 lack of good retail practices, including some mice droppings and rodenticide, that still merited a closure.

The second re–inspection on July 29th found only four issues, all of them “lack of good retail practices,” including cracked tile and a cracked toilet tank in the women’s bathroom, but they were not deemed severe enough to merit a closure.

Clean Plates also reported earlier this month this month that three eateries around Penn were temporarily shut down for health code violations: Bobby's Burger Palace, Ramen Bar, and Han Dynasty. All have since reopened after re–inspection.


This is a breaking story and will be updated as we obtain more information. 


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