Restaurants reopen after hepatitis A investigation

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 10, 2017

GROSSE WOODS/GROSSE POINTE PARK — The two Grosse Pointe-area eateries that had closed temporarily and voluntarily because of a Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans & Community Wellness hepatitis A investigation have reopened.

Uncle Paul’s Pizza, in Grosse Pointe Woods, and Cabbage Patch Cafe and Catering, in Grosse Pointe Park, have complied with the Health Department in the investigation, and they took the proper steps required to reopen for business.

“The facilities completed an extensive cleaning and disinfection process with guidance from the department based on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations for infection control,” Lisa Croff, director of communications and media relations for the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans & Community Wellness, said in an email. “Any and all food that had been handled, prepped, taken out of original sealed packaging or had potential for exposure was discarded. This included any paper goods, disposable food containers or utensils.”

To reopen, employees at both businesses also provided documentation of either previously receiving the hepatitis A vaccine or getting the vaccine or immune globulin after the possible exposure. According to Croff, the management of both facilities have been in daily communication with Health Department staff to communicate if any new developments, changes in health status or reports have been discovered or reported.

Keith Dziedzic, who co-owns Cabbage Patch Cafe and Catering with wife Pam Dziedzic, said the eatery closed for two days, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, and was cleared to open Oct. 2. During last week, however, the couple kept the cafe closed and just provided catering service. The plan was to reopen the restaurant Oct. 9.

Dziedzic said the investigation began after a staff member who worked at both places was diagnosed with hepatitis A. Dziedzic said employees all received the hepatitis A vaccination, the establishment was sanitized, and all opened food was discarded.

“When your whole premise is quality food and cleanliness, it takes your breath away for a minute. Your reputation is on the line,” Dziedzic said of the investigation. “We followed all the rules the health department gave (us.)”

Cabbage Patch Cafe and Catering celebrated four years in business in June.

“The food is freshly made. That’s why people come to our restaurant,” Dziedzic said, adding the restaurant received “a lot of good support from the community” during the Health Department’s investigation. “We were able to see how many people support Pam and want to see her succeed.”

Attempts to reach Uncle Paul’s Pizza by telephone were unsuccessful, but a message about reopening was posted on the pizzeria’s Facebook page — Uncle Pauls Pizza GP — at 3:39 p.m. Oct. 3.

Per the message, the eatery underwent final inspection and was “given the 100 percent OK to reopen for business.” Staff “worked hand in hand” with the department in the investigation and “are happy to be ready to start back up.” Uncle Paul’s Pizza has been in business almost 50 years in the same location and had never failed any health inspections, according to the message.

All hepatitis A cases are reported to the local health department. Anyone with symptoms or who frequented either location during the timeframe of Aug. 1 through Sept. 29 was advised to contact their doctor and get an exam. A blood test will determine if a person has been infected.

Symptoms include yellow eyes and skin, dark urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever and chills. Hepatitis A is spread through fecal and oral transmission and through food, said Dr. Ruta Sharangpani, director of the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness.

For anyone who may have been infected with hepatitis A in less than a two-week span, a vaccine for hepatitis A is available, or patients can receive an immunoglobulin medical IV as treatment.