There's been panic in the streets ever since it was discovered that Canter's was temporarily closed recently due to a vermin infestation.
It is a little unsettling to think about whether it was cockroaches or rats — or both — that caused the closure, especially since Canter's is such a beloved L.A. institution. But here's the truth: Restaurants in L.A. County are shut down almost every day for health code violations. And it is usually, specifically, vermin.
County public health records (which are online and available to view) list all restaurants that are closed for violations. The second most common, after vermin, is lack of hot water. Many of these restaurants are fast-food franchises or anonymous little neighborhood eateries and doughnut shops, but bigger-name locations aren't perfect, either. A Monterey Park Lee's Sandwiches was closed on July 12 due to vermin, as was the Lawry's Carvery at L.A. Live on Aug. 21.
It's surprising when a Starbucks or a grocery store shows up on the list, but it happens: Two Starbucks locations were cited this month for lack of hot water, and the Pavilions on Vine Street had to shut down its prepared-food area for three days starting July 18.
Trendy restaurants are not immune, either. Just this week, on Aug. 22, the Umami Burger in Studio City was closed due to vermin.
The moral of the story? Vermin are a normal part of restaurants. Employees try to keep critters at bay, but some will literally fall through the cracks. Don't let it freak you out.