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Café temporarily closes after viral rodent video

By Kirsten Mitchell

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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular Minneapolis restaurant closed this weekend after a stomach-churning discovery went viral.

A video appeared to show a rodent in a bin of rice inside Stella’s Fish Café in Uptown.

RaLasia Wright captured the video at about 2 a.m. Saturday when she and her friends walked by the restaurant and saw the rodent through the window in the rice.

“It was huge rat, it was a really, big, huge rat, like the rat was thicker than me, like, it was big, like tearing the food down, like I’m talking about ‘Bookie’ was eating the food up,” Wright said. ” No paying customers, but the mouse was.”

A Minneapolis city spokesperson said the restaurant closed on Saturday for an emergency pest management visit. During the visit, the city said a health inspector found signs of mice, including droppings and a dead mouse in a trap. No live mice were found.

After the visit, the restaurant said it voluntarily closed to allow its sanitation and pest control company to remedy the situation. They asked for an additional health inspection which was completed Sunday morning.

“We are still exploring the validity of the video. Cleanliness and customer safety have always been at the forefront of our business and Stella’s has always successfully passed our regular city health inspections. The last inspection was completed within the last 60 days,” Stella’s Fish Cafe said in a statement to WCCO.

Bill Meyer and Gloria Lukalu were hoping to grab lunch at the restaurant Sunday but saw it were closed.

“It’s disappointing, glad they’re controlling it,” Meyer said.

“I’ve been to places where I’ve said, ‘You have lots of flies,’ and it’s brushed over, so it’s good to see they take health very seriously,” Lukalu said.

The city noted as the weather turns colder, mice are more actively seeking entrances to indoors.

“Stella’s management is working with their pest control company to walk through the entire building to identify and close up any points of entry, and to verify pests are eliminated. Stella’s team is cleaning the entire facility. They are taking additional steps to evaluate all food items in dry storage, and store any boxes of food in rigid plastic containers as an additional protective measure,” a city spokesperson said.

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