Philadelphia's restaurants are getting some national attention as Inside Edition's "Rat Patrol" is set to air a segment Tuesday night on "rodents running amok" in some familiar eating spots. The show has raised the ire of local restaurant managers who say they do not have a systemic problem.
The show focused on five popular Philly eateries — Pearl's Oyster Bar in Reading Terminal Market, a Jim's Steaks location on South Street, Di Bruno Brothers in the Italian Market, Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen and Shake Shack at 2000 Sansom Street.
"We take this matter very seriously," said Anuj Gupta, the general manager of Reading Terminal, who said the show did not visit Pearl's Oyster Bar but sat outside on the 12th St. sidewalk and took video while the location was closed.
"Inside Edition's report highlights a public health issue that most restaurant patrons would never see," said Irene Rogers, director of publicity for the show. "Our investigative team used flashlights to look into windows of restaurants in the middle of the night while they were closed. The report will contain video of some of the restaurants where rodent activity was found."
Gupta said Reading Terminal Market is very proactive when it comes to vermin and has a pest control service visit the location four times a week. In addition, Pearl's also has contracted with a separate inspector.
"There is no evidence based on health records that there is any systematic problem with the merchant," said Gupta. "Pearls has no violations [for rodents] whatsoever on their record. We have a lot of measures in place to stay on top of it."
Gupta said producers did show him the video of rodent activity taken outside the market. From time-to-time there is an issue but it is addressed immediately, he said.
"It is not a rat, it is a mouse," he said of the Inside Edition video. "If they claim it is a rat, that is false."
As any regular reader of Clean Plates knows, mice in restaurants – dead or alive – is not a new problem.
In 2016, rodents forced the closure of 60 Philadelphia restaurants and grocers.
Officials at Shake Shake said they saw the show's preview video showing a mouse running across the floor of their location after hours.
"We've held ourselves to the highest standards from day one. The incident was unacceptable to us," Tom Hunton, Philadelphia area director Shake Shack, said in a statement. "We sincerely apologize to our fans and want to assure them that the matter was immediately handled including building improvements and a top to bottom review by independent specialists."
According to a two-year search of inspection reports in Clean Plates, there have been no citations from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for rodent activity at the Center City Shake Shack location.
"Di Bruno's owner later told us they've been in business for 78 years and have never failed an inspection report," the show reported.