Indian By Nature ordered to close permanently

  • Indian by Nature restaurant on Main Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Recorder Staff/Tom RelihanMadan Rathore and Chander Parkesh Kanojia have re-opened former Clay Oven restaurant as Indian By Nature after a major renovation project. Tom Relihan

  • Indian by Nature Manager Chander Kanojia, left, and Owner Madan Rathore, right, after Wednesday night's Greenfield Board of Health meeting, May 17, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GREENFIELD — After more than a year of recurring food safety violations, Indian By Nature has been ordered to close permanently by the town’s Board of Health.

The restaurant at 386 Main St., formerly The Clay Oven, was given a final chance to fix ongoing violations in May, following a week-long closure agreement to design a new management plan. The restaurant was then allowed to reopen under a three-month probationary period.

However, Health Inspector Jami Kolosewicz said the Health Department found recurring violations during its bi-weekly inspections of the restaurant. On Wednesday, the Board of Health voted to revoke its operating permit, effective immediately.

“Every two weeks when you know we were coming, we were still finding the same things,” Kolosewicz said to restaurant owner Madan Rathore, who attended the board’s meeting. “That for me creates a problem of, ‘what’s going on?’”

Kolosewicz said an employee was observed handling ready-to-eat naan with bare hands, and serious recurring violations over the probationary period included raw chicken stored above spinach in the refrigerator; eggs stored over ready-to-eat food; and high food temperatures in the refrigerator, among other issues.

“I would not feel comfortable going to your restaurant to eat,” Board of Health member Steven Adam said. “And if I’m not comfortable, how can I tell the public it’s OK to go there?”

Adam also pointed out the restaurant’s staff knew there were going to be inspections every two weeks.

“You would think that knowing that, that would be the one day that everything shines, everything is perfect, and it’s not,” he said.

Eric F. Nusbaum of Greenfield food consultants Wheelwright Consultants, who worked closely with restaurant staff during the probationary period, said it’s common for employees to get anxious during inspections, and said one staff member at Indian By Nature would get so nervous that he would forget everything he knew.

“I went in the next day and said, ‘Show me how you calibrate a thermometer,’ and he did it fine,” Nusbaum said.

Although Nusbaum said he agrees there were recurring issues, he said Indian By Nature was cleaner than many other restaurants he’s been in.

“Personally, I believe the food is safe to eat, I believe that professionally,” he said, adding the restaurant has also been hurt by bad publicity.

The restaurant was first closed by the Board of Health for a week in June 2016 after the owners repeatedly failed to address poor inspection results. When the restaurant was allowed to reopen, the Health Department conducted weekly inspections, which turned up numerous ongoing violations, including failure to properly store raw meats, failure to store and serve foods at the proper temperatures, ongoing pest control and sanitation problems, and improper control or venting of the grease generated by the restaurant’s kitchen equipment.

The Board of Health suspended the restaurant’s food service license indefinitely in September 2016, until ownership could come up with a solid plan to fix ongoing food safety issues. The restaurant reopened as Indian by Nature in December 2016.

But in May, Indian By Nature was once again ordered to close for a week by the Board of Health and the owner was ordered to design a new management plan. It reopened under a three-month probationary period, operating under strict guidance by Nusbaum. The agreement was also contingent on biweekly inspections administered by Board of Health agents and ServSafe food safety training.

Board of Health member Tammy Mosher was absent during Wednesday’s meeting and did not cast a vote. Board Chairman Dr. William Doyle and Adam both voted in favor of closing the restaurant.

“Good luck in your new venture, whatever it is,” Doyle said to Rathore, who left quietly after the vote. “I’m sorry it had to come to this.”