Restaurant closes after violations, reality TV show

7:02 PM, Dec 18, 2013   |    comments
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DOUGLAS, Mich. (WZZM) -- It was in business for more than three decades, but now a Douglas restaurant has been shut down because of numerous health code violations.  City leaders say a reality TV show may have also contributed to the downfall of Kalico Kitchen on Ferry Street, by portraying the restaurant in a bad light.

As a sign at the front entrance implies, Kalico Kitchen was no stranger to the community. However, among some customers, the restaurant's reputation left much to be desired. "It just wasn't a clean place, the floors were usually dirty," says one former customer.

The Allegan County Health Department found the same thing and cited the restaurant for a half a dozen critical violations. The violations ranged from cleanliness issues to expired foods, which went uncorrected for several years. Last week, health officials shut the business down.

"It's a great shame, they've been here 36 years, they've been a big part of the community, I've eaten there many times," says Douglas Mayor Jim Wiley.

Earlier this year, Kalico Kitchen appeared on the reality TV show, 'Restaurant Impossible.' On the show's website, it says the restaurant had "subpar" food and an "absolutely filthy" kitchen.

"It was devastating to them I'm afraid because after that show, we got letters at city hall and elsewhere about the cleanliness of the place and I'm afraid that just really gave them such bad publicity," says Mayor Wiley.

However, after the show, some people gave the restaurant a second chance. "It did present itself better than it had in the past, I ate there but wasn't impressed and never went back," says a former customer.

The health department held a final hearing a couple weeks ago to discuss the violations, but officials say no one from the restaurant showed up.

City leaders say the restaurant's owner still owes thousands of dollars in taxes. "They owe probably about $10,000 in property taxes and another $6,000 in personal property taxes," says Douglas Treasurer, Robert Drexler.

City leaders plan to reclaim the money in bankruptcy court. They hope a new owner gets the property on a better path in the future. The owner of Kalico Kitchen has 30 days to appeal the health department's decision. WZZM 13  tried to call the owner, but was unable to reach her.

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