The Philadelphia Health Department in March asked dozens of restaurants and other eateries to "discontinue food operations" following less than glowing inspections.

In previous months, a failing inspection would have earned a sterner-sounding order to cease-and-desist, a toothless demand that the restaurant was free to ignore.

But following an agreement with the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections earlier this year, the health department is now reserving "cease-and-desist" for instances when the establishment refuses to close voluntarily. Defiance of a cease order may result in the offending restaurant being slapped with a garish sticker on its front door and visits from the police.

The businesses below were issued requests to stop serving food after being cited for a number of infractions. An infestation of vermin - evidence of bugs, mice or rats - was the top violation followed by general filthiness, the lack of a trained food safety person on duty, and food being held at temperatures known to promote the growth of toxic bacteria. Most of the eateries were OK'd to resume food service after addressing the offenses.

Click on restaurant name for a complete inspection report. For more of the Inquirer's Clean Plates series see Philly.com/cleanplates.

1739 E PASSYUNK AVE 19148
21 violations, 3 serious.
Soap and paper towels not available at handwash sink; several foods not covered inside the walk-in cooler; mouse feces on floors and shelves throughout establishment; employees wearing ineffective hair restraints. Inspected March 28.

South Street Philly Bagel
613 S 3RD ST 19147
15 violations, 5 serious.
Insufficient hot water; accumulated debris on slicer; mouse droppings in the back dough prep area, on mop sink and along walk-in; standing water in the back prep area. According to the owner, all serious violations were corrected on-site. The shop voluntarily closed to fix a broken water heater immediately. Inspected March 28.

3599 MARKET ST 19104
10 violations, 5 serious.
Improper handwashing procedures; heavy grease accumulation on food equipment; old food residue in sink; multiple food items held at unsafe temperatures. Inspected March 24.

O'Rourke's Pub and Grub
4501 SALMON ST 19137
9 violations, 2 serious.
No food safety certified person present at time of inspection; cleaning needed in walk-in and beer refrigerators. Inspected March 23.

Jade Palace Take Out
2001 S 22ND ST 19145
19 violations, 8 serious.
Person-in-charge lacked valid food safety certificate; employee seen touching food with his bare hands; old food residue on dishes and utensils in the handwash sink; uncovered raw chicken stored above ready to eat foods; chicken and egg rolls stored at unsafe temperatures; mouse droppings on shelves, in cardboard boxes used to store food and along base of kitchen floors throughout establishment. no toilet room available in facility. Inspected March 22.

Imperial Inn
142 N 10TH ST 19107
13 violations, 4 serious
Person-in-charge did not know foodborne illnesses need to be reported to health department or know proper warewashing procedures; handwash sink blocked by board; no soap or paper towels at handwash sink; mouse droppings in bar area; rat droppings and bug infestation in basement; person-in-charge stated he will discontinue cooking Peking ducks. Inspected March 22.

Insomnia Cookies
5 S 33RD ST 19104
9 violations, 3 serious.
Employee did not follow proper handwashing procedure, soap and warm water not used; insufficient hot water; physical evidence of rodent/insect activity; fresh mouse droppings. Inspected March 22.

New York Gyro Lunch Cart
6 S 33RD ST 19104
4 violations, 3 serious.
No hot water; improper handwashing procedures; food items held at unsafe temperatures. Inspected March 22.

Zio Pizza Palace & Grill, LLC
157 N 09TH ST 19107
13 violations, 6 serious.
Absence of any person with a valid food safety certificate; person-in-charge had no knowledge of foodborne illnesses that need to be reported to the Health Department; no soap or hot water at handwash sink. Inspected March 22.

Lilai Chinese Restaurant
5609 WALNUT ST 19139
7 violations, 2 serious.
Soap not available at the handwash sink in kitchen; tofu stored under raw chicken in the walk-in cooler; physical evidence of rodent activity; fresh rat feces in basement; open sewer line. Inspected March 21.

Tang Dynasty Buffet
4504 CITY AVE 19131
38 violations, 13 serious.
Employees eating and drinking in the prep area; employees did not wash hands after changing tasks; uncovered foods observed in prep area, deep freezer, and walk-in boxes; can opener encrusted with old food debris; mouse droppings on food containers in back kitchen; mold buildup in ice machine; mouse droppings on floors and on lids of bulk food containers, prep tables, cutting boards, and food cans in rear storage area; flies in basement; employees wearing extremely soiled aprons; no employees wearing hair restraints. Inspected March 21.

Terryin Restaurant
358 SNYDER AVE 19148
34 violations, 10 serious
Food employee did not use soap to wash hands or between changing tasks; employee touched ready to eat food with his bare hands; single mouse dropping found directly on chicken inside of walk-in cooler; mice feces on floors in the prep area, sushi prep area, walk-in cooler, basement storage area, and dining area; additional feces on shelves, prep table shelves, and prep areas where canned and bulk goods; ineffective or no hair restraints. Inspected March 18.

Harvest University City
200 S 40TH ST 19104
22 violations, 8 serious.
Improper handwashing procedures; old food residue, dishes and utensils in kitchen handwash sink; soap not available at handwash sink; physical evidence of rodent/insect activity observed throughout the facility; fresh mouse droppings; general floor cleaning needed throughout facility. Inspected March 18.

Kitchen 79 Fried Chicken
1202 N 52ND ST 19131
10 violation, 0 serious.
Person-in-charge did not have food safety certificate. Inspected March 17.

China House
2944 N 5TH ST 19133
15 violations, 2 serious.
48 hour closure orders issued due to mouse infestion; accumulated food residue on can opener; evidence of rodent activity observed throughout establishment. Inspected March 16.

Las Lomas Bakery & Grocery
1032 S 9TH ST 19147
23 violations, 11 serious.
Insects found crawling in bulk flour, bulk sugar and bulk donut mix; no sanitization taking place during time of inspection; mouse droppings, drain flies and beetles. Inspected March 16.

OutSTANDish
1844 W HUNTING PARK AVE 19140
19 violations, 6 serious
Mouse infestation; handwash/grinder sink was blocked with defrosting shrimp; empty paper towel dispenser. Inspected March 16.

A & A Grocery Store
5030 HAVERFORD AVE 19139
19 violations, 3 serious.
Food held at unsafe temperatures. Employees without hair restraints. Malfunctioning refrigeration unit. General floor, wall, ceiling, repair and cleaning needed. Inspected March 15.

China Star
2956 N 22ND ST 19132
17 violations, 6 serious.
Live roaches, dying roaches, and numerous dead roaches were observed throughout the food prep area; food safety certified individual is not present; hair restraints not worn by all food handlers; wall surfaces are not clean. Inspected March 15.

Catch 22 Seafood And Grill
2956 N 22ND ST 19132
15 violations, 4 serious.
Food safety certified person is not ensuring that employees are washing, rinsing and sanitizing dishes; sinks lack paper towels or soap; evidence of rodent infestation. Inspected March 11.

Aya's Pizza
7144 ELMWOOD AVE 19142
20 violations, 4 serious.
Person-in-charge not present; mouse droppings in food containers and on floors; empty paper towel dispenser. evidence of rodent / insect activity in the prep area; employees not wearing or wearing ineffective hair restraints; general cleaning needed throughout the facility. Inspected March 11.

Peking Inn
2020 PENROSE AVE 19145
34 violations, 16 serious.
Insufficient hot water for handwashing; mouse droppings on sandwich prep unit, meat slicer table, mixer base, shelving above prep units, dry foods storage shelving, shelving where plate-ware and dish-ware are stored, dish storage racks, shelving before bar area, on top edges inside prep unit near open bins; accumulated food residue on slicer; food stored in unapproved trashbags and reused cardboard boxes; food held at unsafe temps; employees not wearing hair restraints; cleaning and decluttering needed throughout entire kitchen. Inspected March 9.

Mekong River
1120 S FRONT ST 19147
13 violations, 6 serious.
Insufficient hot water for handwashing; empty paper towel dispensers; uncovered chicken and beef in walk-in cooler; black residue in ice machine; mouse droppings; food held at unsafe temperatures. Inspected March 9.

Street Food
3510 SCOTTS LN BLDG 32 19129
6 violations, 4 serious.
Person-in-charge did not have his food safety certificate; mouse droppings throughout facility; meats curing in a refrigerator. Inspected March 4.

samwood@phillynews.com
215-854-2796
@samwoodiii