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This Popular Fast-Food Chain Has a Rat Infestation Problem

A top fast-casual Mexican restaurant has closed one of its New York restaurants down due to rodents.

Restaurant closures have impacted the city population most of us avoid thinking about—rats. When kitchens began to close earlier this year, destitute rodent populations lost their access to food, and they adopted aggressive tactics in their attempts to get fed.

This summer, hungry rats took to the streets, where they invaded outdoor dining settings in cities like New York. As temperatures drop, it appears as if some of these rodents have found a warm indoor source of sustenance: Chipotle. The chain's location in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan has temporarily shut down after multiple workers were bitten in an ongoing rat infestation, according to the New York Post. (Related: McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)

And it sounds like rats love avocado just as much as millennials. The rats were feasting on stored avocados and dry rice at the fast-casual Mexican joint, and the "brazen" rodents wreaked havoc on the restaurant's infrastructure, employees told The Post. As many as four staffers were allegedly bitten by "massive" rats, which appeared to be multiplying in size and numbers.

The Department of Health visited the location yesterday along with a "pest control expert," according to The Post. The impacted restaurant reportedly closed in late November after the system handling the store's orders was taken down when rats chewed up computer wiring.

Chipotle employees t0ld The Post that they continue to regularly clean the invaded store. Several alleged that Chipotle did not properly address the "dangerous" working conditions, which include multiple alleged rat bites.

"A company as big as Chipotle shouldn't be worried only about the amount of money they're making and leave their employees to keep working under dangerous conditions," Paulino Ruiz, an employee who claims to have been bitten by a rat, said.

Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's corporate affairs and food safety officer, responded to the allegations by reiterating that the health and safety of customers employees was a top priority for the company.

"The Columbia Presbyterian restaurant located at 4009 Broadway in New York has been mainly closed since Nov. 23 due to a pest problem affecting the immediate area," Schalow told The Post. "During this time, we have arranged an emergency pest service and deep cleaning and are working with the landlord directly to ensure location improvements are met before reopening."

Until further notice, customers in Washington Heights will have to find their burrito fix elsewhere.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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