Rats Invade Popular Philly Restaurant

Images of rodents eating on a table being shared online

A popular Philadelphia restaurant has shut down after photos and a video of rats feasting on food inside went viral online.

The Green Eggs Café at 212 S. 13th Street is closed indefinitely after a sewer pipe broke Sunday allowing large rodents to enter the spot. The restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and brunch had already closed for the day when the pipe burst.

Several people took photos of at least three rats eating a slice of pizza on a table facing the brunch spot’s street side window Sunday evening. A video of the rodents was also posted to YouTube.

Co-owner Steve Slaughter tells NBC10.com he and his staff were forwarded one of the photos by a regular customer around 9 p.m. -- saying he was “horrified” by what he saw.

“It’s definitely a horrible situation and we’re working to resolve it,” Slaughter said. “We actually had a major defect with our building. For the safety of our employees and our customers, we’re staying closed until this can be fixed and everything can be disinfected.”

Slaughter says pipe is located in the basement along with the restaurant’s kitchen. He says it’s unclear what caused the pipe to break, but says plumbers are planning dig up the sidewalk and street to replace the entire sewer line.

Slaughter obtained a permit from the city Tuesday to begin the pipe replacement work.

Green Eggs Café leases its 13th Street location, sharing space in the building with Nest, an indoor children’s playground. A Nest employee said the rodent issue and sewer pipe did not affect their business.

Philadelphia Office of Food Protection records show the restaurant was inspected three times over the past year – with the last inspection performed on July 26, 2012. Only minor violations were found on each occasion.

Word of the rodent invasion spread quickly on Twitter and Instagram with some people calling the sight nasty and disgusting.

Slaughter says the local chain, which has two other locations in the city, wants to be transparent about the situation. The restaurant let patrons know about the pipe break on its official Twitter account.

“We pride ourselves on the cleanliness and the product we put out there,” he said. “We want to make sure we handle the situation correctly and transparently.”

The café’s employees will move to other stores until the Center City location is reopened.

NOTE: The YouTube video below has strong language.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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