A judge ordered Hoagie Haven to pay a $500 fine for health code violations, but the popular sandwich shop has resolved its differences with the Princeton Regional Health Department, health officer William Hinshillwood said yesterday.
Hoagie Haven owner Konstantinos Liras pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to a charge of smoking in a food-preparation area, but local Judge Russell Annich dismissed two other health-related charges facing the restaurant during a hearing at Princeton Borough Hall.
The health department agreed Nov. 18 to give the sandwich shop until Dec. 20 to replace wooden tables and shelves with stainless steel ones in food-preparation areas and to add more refrigeration space.
Hinshillwood said the restaurant has rectified the problems adequately, but the health department will continue to monitor the shop.
"I think it's a little misleading to say the two charges were dropped," Hinshillwood said. "My interpretation was that the three charges were merged into one. They got a $500 fine, but they corrected all the violations."
Liras said yesterday he does not believe that University students will be reluctant to eat at the shop as a result of the fine "We have fixed whatever they were asking, and that's it," Liras said. "We have yearly inspections, and whatever they ask us to do, we do it all the time."
Liras declined to comment further on the hearing and referred all other questions to his attorney, Lori Greenberg.
Greenberg said no customers have ever become sick from eating at the restaurant and the health department simply wanted the shop to "modernize" some of its resources.
"An employee was smoking in the food-preparation area, and so they fined them for that," Greenberg said. "Everyone knows now that smoking won't be tolerated."
Greenberg added that the restaurant had been trying to solve the other problems "for quite some time, and it was a matter of what finally needed to be done."
Since the inspections, the sandwich shop has bought two new refrigerators and has replaced all the wooden shelves and desks, Greenberg said. "They have been doing what the health department wanted all along, and the health department was pleased," she said.
The shop originally faced a maximum fine of $1,000 for each of the three violations, but based on the recommendations of the health department, the judge imposed a smaller penalty, Hinshillwood said.
"I think we've gotten some progress there, and we are satisfied that they are operating in a safe manner," Hinshillwood said. "We do inspections at least once a year, but I suspect we will go in a little more frequently to make sure they don't fall back into bad habits."