It seems as though Fig & Olive is still struggling to come back from last year’s severe allegations of salmonella outbreaks at several of their high-end restaurant locations nationwide, including their outlet in West Hollywood. According to the Washington City Paper, which has been doggedly covering the story since it first broke, a bevy of lawsuits and layoffs have hurt the company, with president Greg Galy confirming as much late last year.
And what’s worse: There seems to have been a separate, underreported health department issue at the West Hollywood location back in November that forced an immediate shutdown of the dining room for the night — and almost cost them their operating permit.
Spread throughout the Washington City Paper report are some pretty stark photos of the kitchen area of West Hollywood’s Fig & Olive, where apparently on November 17 a faulty water heater led to an entire evening of service without running hot water. Per the report, staff members asked to close the restaurant but were denied by corporate management, with someone ultimately tipping off the health department who swooped in and ordered an immediate shut down of the entire facility.
Finding no water hotter than 74 degrees, the health department forced a closure and sent diners and workers alike home until the situation could be resolved, resulting in more than a few photos in the article showing endless stacks of dirty dishes piled throughout the kitchen, unable to be washed.
Perhaps even more damning, the Washington City Paper reports that the very next day, on November 18, reps for the restaurant were brought before a Beverly Hills District environmental health specialist and told that any further critical violations would result in the restaurant having their public health permit completely revoked. That is to say, they’d be shut down permanently.
Ultimately the restaurant was allowed to reopen once hot water was restored, and there have apparently been no further serious violations to note. Eater reached out to Fig & Olive directly to comment on the November 17 incident, and received the following reply:
In regards to Nov. 17, yes we had to close the restaurant. From time to time, equipment does falter and we want to reassure everyone that we took necessary measures to rectify the situation in a safe and responsible manner; and were cleared to reopen the very next day. We are a growing company and in the past 12 months have certainly experienced growing pains. We take these challenges very seriously and have been working hard in partnership with our suppliers and the food authorities to overcome any issues. We truly love what we do. We remain committed to our core philosophy and heritage: working with the best ingredients and purveyors. This season, our culinary team worked very hard to put forth a vibrant new spring menu, which we’re excited to share with our customers.