Tornado-damaged restaurants face inspection before reopening

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The EF3 tornado that pounded Jefferson City in the early-morning hours of May 23 left dozens of businesses and residences damaged. Some, including three food establishments, were forced to shut down entirely.

The Burger King location on Christy Drive, the Ellis Boulevard location of the Sonic Drive-In franchise and the kitchen of the Capital Bowl bowling alley were all closed down after the powerful storm severely damaged the buildings.

"We had no windows in the front of the building and the A/C units were ripped off the top of the building," said Burger King general manager Rhonda Campbell. "It was just devastating for us."

Since then, the Sonic Drive-In and Burger King locations reopened their doors, but not without facing new inspections from the city.

"In the weeks leading up to opening, we spent a lot of time here, cleaning things, getting everything wiped down to pass our food safety inspection before we could open," said Campbell. "The health inspector came out and made a list of what we needed to do before we could reopen. We go that taken care of, she came back out, gave us the go ahead to open on Tuesday morning. It is a long, drawn-out process."

Multiple restaurants in the Capital View Plaza on Ellis Boulevard temporarily lost power after the storm and underwent similar health inspections before they were allowed to resume operations, according to Jefferson City environmental health manager Dave Grellner.

The day care at the Jefferson City Area YMCA also underwent a post-tornado inspection by the state Health Department, as did the nearby Best Western hotel.

Some of those inspection results are listed in the August environmental health report, which can be viewed by following this link.

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