Sammy's, a restaurant frequented by College students and workers at the University hospital, closed down on Thursday, October 16, due to health code violations. A surprise, but routine, inspection found live cockroaches, a back sink in poor condition, and garbage heaped outside of the restaurant, said Victor Young, chief sanitarian of the Chicago Department of Health.
Having passed another round of inspections, it will reopen at 11 a.m. today.
The restaurant, located on 57th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, serves traditional fast food as well as some Greek dishes. Besides its popularity with the University community, it also draws a large Hyde Park clientele, with the line at lunch hour extending almost out the door.
Sammy's was forced to close immediately, as City protocol dictates that a restaurant will be shut down if violations cannot be corrected within the course of an inspector's visit.
Sammy's owner signed an affidavit Monday morning, claiming that the restaurant was up to standards, but inspectors reported that the sink was still broken. They returned to the restaurant in the afternoon to find the sink in acceptable condition
Mike Tessel, a fourth-year in the College concentrating in biology, eats at Sammy's once a week due to the restaurant's proximity to the BSLC. He said that the closing surprised him.
Tessel enjoyed eating at Sammy's because of the menu and free sodas, and he was upset when the restaurant was ordered to close. "The food was good, and if you were a student, they would give you a soda if you ordered over $4 worth of food. Since they knew me, sometimes they would hook me up with a soda even if I ordered $2 worth," he said.
Sammy's offers Chicago-style hot dogs, gyros, grilled chicken, French fries, and classic hamburgers.
"You give them your order, and you wait in line and the guys behind the counter yell out your order twice. The first time, when they tell the cooks, the second time when they tell you its ready. While you are in line you can hear what everyone else is ordering. It's part of the charm of the place," Tessel said.
Sammy, the restaurant's owner, said that a broken sink caused a buildup of dirty dishes in the back of the restaurant.
"This is the first time in 20 years we have been closed down. We are confident that we will open at 11 o'clock tomorrow morning," Sammy said.