The head of Boston’s restaurant inspection program ate lunch at a Chipotle in Cleveland Circle on Monday afternoon to show he is confident that it is safe to dine at the location after more than 100 people got sick after eating there this month.
Commissioner William Christopher, who was joined by his chief of staff, Indira Alvarez, ate at the Cleveland Circle location after the restaurant officially reopened over the weekend following an inspection.
Christopher stuck to his current carb-free diet, ordering a bowl with steak, chicken, peppers, onions, and lettuce. “The food was wonderful,” he said. “There were no side effects or anything.”
The branch was shut down Dec. 7 after many Boston College students reported gastrointestinal symptoms after dining there. Laboratory tests determined that the culprit was norovirus, although officials couldn’t determine how the virus was transmitted.
Inspectors found that an employee had worked while sick and that meat was not heated adequately. The location was cleared by inspectors to reopen Dec. 23, but it did not reopen until this past weekend because of an unrelated water leak.
“We are pleased to see that the Cleveland Circle Chipotle has taken the necessary steps to meet the health code standards put forth by the City of Boston to protect consumers,” Christopher said in a statement.
Christopher said the reason for the visit was to show that he stands behind the latest inspection by his department. “They did a good job cleaning the place, and I want to let people know that I have confidence to go there and eat,” he added. “I just felt it was the right thing to do.”
He said he had eaten at a Chipotle before, but had not been to the chain in years. “I wouldn’t say I’m a regular, but I may become one now. It was good.”
The norovirus outbreak was unrelated to E. coli cases that were reported at Chipotle locations in other parts of the country, mostly in Oregon and Washington.