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Newark's Bonchon fried chicken plans to reopen after new equipment is delivered

Patricia Talorico - Delaware Online

A Newark fried chicken restaurant remains closed two weeks after the state Division of Public Health ordered it to cease operations due to an August fire in the kitchen that caused "imminent health hazards."

"The status of Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken remains the same. There are no updates at this time,'' Timothy Turane, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Public Health wrote in an email Wednesday after Delaware Online/The News Journal asked if the restaurant had been allowed to reopen.

However, the owner has indicated that he plans to have the restaurant up and running soon.

"Bonchon does have plans to reopen. As of right now, there is not a definite date for the reopening as they are awaiting the delivery of equipment," a public relations spokesperson said in an email to Delaware Online.

The fast-casual restaurant in Newark's former College Square shopping center, now called The Grove at Newark, began serving Korean fried chicken in early July. It's part of a chain founded in Busan, South Korea, in 2002.

The Division of Public Health office received a call on Aug. 24 from the city of Newark Code Enforcement as well as from the owner of Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken regarding an Aug. 21 fire, according to an inspection report.

The restaurant owner told a state health inspector that a fire at around 1 a.m. on Aug. 21 severely burned a deep fryer, but fire alarms did not go off.

An inspector said in addition to the damaged deep fryer in the kitchen, a small sandwich refrigerator located next to the fryer had a large black mark on the side. Black soot was found on plastic forks, to-go containers, floor and equipment. Grease deposits also were found on a work table next to the deep fryers.

The Division of Public Health said the owner must remove the damaged deep fryer and replace it, discard all food and open items that have been contaminated by soot and smoke debris, and clean and sanitize all utensils, cooking equipment, floor, walls and ceilings.

Bonchon Chicken must be re-inspected by the state before it can reopen. Reopening without prior approval of the Division of Public Health will result in fines up to $1,000.

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