Grand Cafe owners cited for city code violations

BLOOMINGTON — The owners of the Grand Cafe have been cited for 17 property maintenance code violations, stemming from “abandoned signs” and debris outside the vacant legendary downtown restaurant.

The owners were sent a violation notice and report after a city inspector observed on April 2 the property maintenance and building code violations at the shuttered restaurant at 615 N. Main St. 

They were summoned to make a first appearance Wednesday in the city’s administrative court after the violations were not corrected by an April 23 re-inspection.

Co-owner Jimmy Mapugay appeared at the hearing, but declined to comment afterward.

He hired attorney Eitan Weltman on Wednesday. The case was continued by mutual agreement until May 9 to allow the attorney to review the complaint filed by the city.

“He’s not intending to fix it. He said he was planning on demolishing it, which would abate the violations,” said city Deputy Corporation Counsel Angela Fyans-Jimenez. “We need the garbage and rubbish picked up, too”

Eight of the citations were related to abandoned signs, including failing to remove several “Grand Cafe,” “Grand Cafe Customer Parking Only,” and “Fine Food Cocktails” signs, posts, associated hardware, electrical lighting materials and conduits after the restaurant closed, according to the violation notice and report.

Other citations allege an accumulation of rubbish or garbage, including crates, bottles, cans, a ladder, pallets, buckets, a hose, plastic roofing pieces, bricks, other building and landscaping materials, wood, dead tree limbs, grease bins and receptacles, according to the document.

Each violation is punishable by a fine of $50 to $500 for each day it continues past the compliance date, said the city.

The restaurant was started in 1921 by Charlie B. Lum, a Hong Kong native who arrived in Chicago in 1918 and created a menu with Asian dishes that were modified to appeal to area residents. Over the years, the eatery has had several downtown locations.