Cha Cha Cha, a 19-year-old bar and restaurant on Mission Street, reopened late last month after the San Francisco Department of Public Health shut it down for four days due to a cockroach infestation and other violations.

According to health inspection records from June 26 to June 30, health inspectors found live cockroaches on the kitchen’s cutting boards and inside a dishwasher at the bar. An inspector also found cockroach feces along the restaurant’s walls, on pipes, and under bartops and prep tables.  

“Observed a large plastic container of beans cooling at room temperature … ” wrote inspector Carlos Barragan on June 26. He also observed a “large piece of pork cooling at room temperature.”

These sights spurred a re-inspection on June 29. Health workers then discovered an abundance of grease and food scraps on the restaurant’s walls, ceiling, kitchen equipment, beneath bartops and on clean dishes, the report said. In addition, water had accumulated in the dishwashing room, and garbage and grease had accumulated in the garbage room.  

All told, the violations resulted in a score of 60 out of 100, with 28 points docked for “high-risk” violations, eight for “mod-risk” and four for “low-risk.” Much of the staff had to receive on-site food safety training.

The restaurant was allowed to reopen on June 30 following a visit by an exterminator and a third city inspection.

Cha Cha Cha’s owner, Irfan Yalcin, did not return multiple calls for comment. People familiar with the owner said that he has been away in Turkey, and was overseas during the closure.

Mission Local spoke to Yalcin’s brother, who declined to comment but claims he notified Yalcin of our interview request. 

Yalcin bought the restaurant in September 2016, and according to a source, has made a considerable effort to revamp it — underwriting a deep cleaning, plugging up holes, and clearing up the restaurant’s dirty basement. Yalcin also bought the Cha Cha Cha location on Haight Street last June

Yalcin is also far more present at the restaurant than the previous owners, the source said.

But problems persist. Health inspection records dating back to January 2014 reveal that the building has struggled with the presence of cockroaches — but never to the degree described in last week’s reports.

In May 2015, a health inspector did find rat feces in the building’s basement, and an earlier inspection in March 2014 found one live and one dead cockroach.

Last week’s inspection was the first routine inspection since Yalcin bought the restaurant two years ago. 

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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