WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9) -- A health department sanitation closure of a Columbia Heights deli evolved into an "illegal" operation, including a name change, menu turnaround, and twice being caught by WUSA9 camera opening its door while under a DC order to stay closed and fix sanitation risks.
Follow @RussPtacek on Twitter or join Russ Ptacek's on Facebook to be alerted first about closures prior to when we report inspections online or on air.
Video shows angry workers at the bakery ordering our cameras out after we record shelves filled with baked goods, sandwiches behind the counter, and people inside the bakery.
The DC Department of Health ordered Carolena Deli and Beverage closed April 23rd citing no working plumbing at the kitchen sink, no health policy tracking worker diseases transmittable through food and no license to sale food.
When WUSA9 went to the location at 3429 14th St. NW Friday, the license was still suspended, but a bakery named Mi Casita was operating inside with a grand opening banner hanging outside.
A worker assured us they had passed health inspections and had a license to serve the public but couldn't show us any proof.
Finally, they argued that they were only serving coffee, although the store was stocked with fresh baked goods.
When we called DC Health asking what was going on, they say the sent an inspector to the location to order it closed again.
Three days later, we went back and found it open again - with people inside, food on the counter, and rows of bread in glass cases.
They ordered us out
"Everything cleaner," a woman said speaking to our cameras through a window, but when asked if they had gotten a license they claimed the store was empty.
This time, when we asked District health what was going on, the program manager, Robert Sudler, responded and said it was illegal.
Minutes after arriving, he taped a District placard warning of an imminent health hazard inside and declaring the store closed again.
Sudler said it is routine for inspectors to tape the orange warning signs on establishments closed for health violations and that he believed the bakery had illegally torn it down twice.
The next day, when we checked, the sign was still there, along with a work permit to fix their kitchen sink.