SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. -- Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda's restaurant was shut down by county health inspectors who discovered a rat infestation only days after the baseball team celebrated its World Series victory at the eatery, it was reported Saturday.
Just nine days after Lasorda took his team to the restaurant, Tommy Lasorda's Ribs and Pasta, Los Angeles County health inspectors found 43 violations of health codes, the Herald Examiner said.
'I've seen worse, but this ranks right up there. I was shocked,' said inspector Abilio Lopez.
According to Health Department records, along with a rat infestation the restaurant also was plagued by dirty equipment and contamination of food preparation surfaces.
The eatery was closed from Oct. 26 until Oct. 31, when it was allowed to reopen after the health department determined that all violations had been remedied.
Just a few minutes from Dodger Stadium, the restaurant specializes in ribs and pasta and often is the site for post-game feasts.
Lasorda's was the venue for a team celebration that included a marching band and a dancing Tommy Lasorda the weekend after the Dodgers defeated the Oakland Athletics for their first World Series triumph since 1981.
The Health Department investigation was sparked by a complaint from a customer who reported 'rats were everywhere' after he saw a rat scamper behind a big screen TV on Oct. 14 -- the day before the Dodgers clinched their victory in Oakland.
Lasorda was in the Dominican Republic scouting players in the Winter League and could not be reached for comment.
Addressing the citations, Jim Picola, the vice president of the South Pasadena eatery and a counterpart establishment in Marina del Rey, dismissed the violations.
'It's not true. I'll tell you right now there was some bureaucracy in there,' he told the newspaper.
Picola said management neglected to fix some holes in the wall and the health department 'got mad and lowered the hammer on us.'
But inspector Lopez said he waited until after the World Series was wrapped up and the team was congratulated by the mayor and the White House before he closed in on the restaurant.
'I had a feeling that if I had to shut them down all heck would break loose,' Lopez said. 'Then I went in with my black light and sure enough, there was (rat) urine on some of the plates.'
It was not the first time the establishment had struck out with health department inspectors.
An inspection last January found 30 violations, including food kept at unsafe temperatures, improper food storage, hazardous chemicals on the premises and employees without hair coverings, records show.