‘Vermin infestation’ shuts down popular South Bay restaurant

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Popular neighborhood Italian restaurant Filippi's Pizza Grotto was closed Thursday for what a notice from San Diego County's health department called a "vermin infestation."

A county website confirmed that the family-owned eatery in Eastlake did not pass a health inspection and was ordered closed Wednesday.

A food inspection report stated inspectors found evidence of vermin, including rodent droppings in a dry storage area, utensil storage area and inside ovens, rodent nests inside ovens, a "pungent urine smell" inside an oven and gnaw marks on electrical wiring.

The company's other franchises are not affected and remain open.

Would-be diners were seen approaching the restaurant and leaving disappointed Thursday evening.

"Quite shocking 'cause it's such a brand-new facility where you expect stainless steel and clean stuff and wouldn't expect a vermin infestation. That's kind of what you'd think of in some old seedy place," said Dan McGinty, who stopped by the restaurant to order takeout.

An employee said the restaurant had reopened by late Friday afternoon.