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Monday, March 27

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Restaurant Tue Feb 10 2009

Bleeding Heart Bakery Speaks Out About Closure

Michelle Garcia of Bleeding Heart Bakery distributed a news release today explaining the circumstances surrounding its closure yesterday due to health code violations. The full text of the release follows after the jump.

Despite the shock and dismay that often arises with such closures, the reasons behind them are often more procedural than anything that truly endangers customers' health. In Bleeding Heart's case, some temporary and easily fixed plumbing issues and a late trash pickup were involved, compounded with some missing paperwork regarding employee certification, led to a mandatory closure. If it were just one of the three problems, the bakery may have simply gotten a slap on the wrists and an order to have it fixed for another inspection in a couple days, rather than a week off.

Obviously, if the inspection reported rodent droppings, things would be different. But if you look at the details on this case, it was much ado about not very much.

Breaking News: Stop the Rumors! The truth Behind the Very Temporary Closing of Bleeding Heart Bakery

It was reported yesterday, 2/9/09, that the Chicago Health Department conducted a routine inspection of Bleeding Heart Bakery, resulting in its closing due to clogged sinks, no manager on duty and overflowing garbage in the alley. The blogs, internet and news has run am muck with the story and many speculations and slanderous comments have been made.

We are writing this statement to put a stop to the rumors and to state our side of the story, which not one reporting agency, besides the Booster, has bothered to ask.

On Sunday night, after service, our kitchen sink became clogged, once noticed in the morning, the sink was covered and not used. The hand sink near by was affected and was also closed. These are two of 6 sinks we have in the bakery, three of which are hand sinks. This in no way said that we were not either washing our hands (as there is a sink 15 feet away for that) or our dishes. We were not actually open and no food could have in anyway been affected. Drano (yes, I know...bad) had already been purchased and cleared the drain in minutes. Problem solved before 11am.

We get our trash serviced every Monday by Waste Management. They usually come around 10 am which they did yesterday. As our inspection was between 8 and 9, the garbage was not emptied yet. We pay for this service and they come faithfully every week.

There were two members of the staff present both of which had their sanitation license, they were not asked for it. However, the bakery was cited for not having a staff member with their sanitation license present. The owner, Michelle recently had surgery and had to run out for 1 hour to a post op appointment. This one hour just happened to be the hour the health department showed up. Interesting.

We have always prided ourselves on our cleanliness and have supported an open kitchen from the very beginning to prove we have nothing to hide.

We apologize for any problems this may cause people, we have already gone back to the city and will be re-inspected within 48 hours, which is routine procedure. We will be open for business this weekend or sooner, without a doubt, and we will be celebrating another wonderful Valentines Day.

Michelle & Vinny Garcia
The Bleeding Heart Bakery
1955 W Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657

UPDATE: Bleeding Heart reopened Wednesday after being given full clearance by the health department.

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egspoony / February 10, 2009 1:42 PM

I've been there and bought from them... They are aware of their cleanliness as I observed and when this first broke out, I thought something fishy was going on with the inspection.

I am glad that Michelle was able to respond to the closing.

Shelly / February 10, 2009 1:55 PM

You gotta give Michelle and Vinny credit for giving their side of what happened. The garbage collectors should be given props to for having to collect so much garbage in the city of Chicago.

Best of luck to them and I might try and stop by sometime as I only live a few blocks from the bakery.

Contemplative / February 10, 2009 5:30 PM

I think the reasons for the closure were blown out of proportion.

However, I'd add that I believe Michelle is talking about libel, not slander as she references blogs, etc.

This statement: "This one hour just happened to be the hour the health department showed up. Interesting." makes me just want to roll my eyes. There have been suspicions that this wasn't on the up and up and who the heck knows - maybe it wasn't. But I think it's sloppy of Michelle to make a statement that implies deceit or some plot against her bakery. I have sympathy for her situation because I think the issues that closed her place are relatively minor and wouldn't cause me to shun this bakery at all - but, having said that, I think it's not entirely graceful to offer up a very logical explanation and include some implication that the inspection was less than honest. As someone who may have every right to be sensitive to the comments of others, I would think she'd have the sensitivity to imply wrongdoing on the parts of others without some sort of proof.

Bakery? I would say safe and these issues are minor.

Grace/Class of Michelle? Disappointing but probably borne out of a feeling of defensiveness.

Lon / February 11, 2009 8:43 AM

There is one good reason for the closure, Mayor Daley needs revenue and he is doing everything in his hush hush power to get every business in the area ticketed, fined or closed.

City inspectors are told to go after every business in order to raise $$$$ for the Mayors bad spending habit.

this bakery is one of many businesses being attacked, but this one happens to be publicized.

ChicagoNews / February 11, 2009 10:00 AM

Lon's comment about the mayor doing "everything in his power" to get "every business" closed makes no sense. Every day a business is closed, the city loses sales tax revenue. Everyone (except Lon, apparently) knows that.

nicolesing / February 11, 2009 12:27 PM

Health Inspectors are doing there jobs to keep custmers from getting sick. Looks like this place was not doing there a clog sink does not happen over night you can till when it is happening. Owner just thinks people are out to get her.

nicolesing / February 11, 2009 12:27 PM

Health Inspectors are doing there jobs to keep custmers from getting sick. Looks like this place was not doing there a clog sink does not happen over night you can till when it is happening. Owner just thinks people are out to get her.

Ann / February 14, 2009 10:48 PM

The city does the right thing to shut places down if their sinks are broken, even if it is an hr. I want the person who handles my food to have clean hands. If the city earns money its all long as we don't eat in dirty places. As an owner you have the responsiblity to keep a clean environment for consumers and as a consumer I have the right spend my money somewhere that is kept up. We shouldn't blame the city for reinforcing the rules. I applaud the city and frown on you for trying to sweep the truth under the rug. Hoping you get your place cleaned up and deal with the issues not pass them off on someone else. I hope you can regain your customers trust again.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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