The same social media that Green Eggs Café has used to regularly promote its breakfast offerings has come back to bite it — like a rat.
The restaurant's Midtown Village location, at 13th and Locust streets, fell under public scrutiny beginning last night, when passersby spotted a number of rats on a table. A crowd gathered around the closed establishment about 10 p.m., taking photos of the rodents surrounding two pizza boxes on a table.
Jenna Bachen, who lives nearby, said she was walking home when she saw the rats — at least four — on the table and the floor.
On Twitter and Instagram, photos of the vermin with the power to taint public perception spread, including posts on Foobooz and Eater Philly. Bachen said she's had positive experiences during the multiple times she's visited the location.
"The people have always been great, they've always run a thorough business," Bachen said. "Unfortunately, it's just kind of tarnished for me now."
The restaurant was closed today.
Managing Partner Stephen Slaughter said a sewage line coming into the building appears to have broken, allowing the rats in. Apart from the rats, no other issues or damages were found, he said.
"We were called directly and also [alerted by] what we saw through social media," Slaughter said.
The pizza boxes were left behind by staff members, who would face repercussions, he said.
"We pride ourselves on our cleanliness and the quality of our product," he said. "We're just looking to do the right thing at this point. We were the ones who decided to close the doors."
Construction workers and plumbers will work to fix the pipe through tomorrow, he said. When that's taken care of, a sanitation crew will clean the restaurant.
The location will reopen when any and all issues are "eradicated," he said.
Neighboring business NEST, a children's boutique and play space that offers classes for toddlers, hadn't been affected, said Lauren Wrobel, general manager. Some parents expressed concern over the rats, she said, but were calmed when employees informed them that there had been no problems in NEST space.
The most recent food facility inspection posted by the city's Department of Health shows that the location was largely in compliance in July 2012. The sole noncompliance noted in the report was for food-contact surfaces being cleaned and sanitized improperly for a dishwasher-related problem.
Slaughter said a station was lacking a sanitation bucket for rags, but that the noncompliance was fixed during the inspection.
Inspectors from the department visit the location today, following multiple media inquiries, said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Department of Health. Moran said a 30-day appeal period is permitted before new inspections are published.
"The only calls we've gotten about it are from the media," Moran said.
But complaints were abundant on social media platforms.
"The power of social media," Bachen said. "Bad news travels fast that way."