Health inspector closes longtime Chinese restaurant over pests and plumbing issues

SAN ANTONIO – Health inspectors recently suspended the license of a long-running Chinese restaurant on Broadway, just north of downtown.

Van’s Chinese seafood restaurant in the 3200 block of Broadway was forced to close temporarily following an inspection in February.

Their big problem was plumbing issues.

There was “no hot water” and a plumbing clog was missing which caused “a foul smell” when the water ran.

The inspector also wrote that “little live pests” were also observed in the business.

The inspector gave the restaurant a rating of 79, but forced it to close until hot water could be restored, pest control services were hired and all fees were paid.

The restaurant was closed when KSAT Investigates reporter Tim Gerber stopped by this week.

However, Than Hein Nguyen was inside and opened the door. He said he was the boss, not the owner of the business. He agreed to take Gerber behind the kitchen door to answer some questions.

Nguyen said they were only closed for a day. He also said they hired a pest control service.

“I already have it. I showed it to the inspector last month,” Nguyen said. “Everything, I do, but I don’t want to spend more money to fix it, no.”

Although the business was allowed to reopen, he said it was no longer operating.

“I want to get out of here. I don’t want to do it and everything,” Nguyen said. “I am too old.”

He said they were ‘not open’ but he still uses the restaurant ‘to cook for the family’.

Nguyen said they have been struggling since COVID hit. The company was also hit by a string of negative publicity last year when a state game warden seized more than $25,000 worth of shark fins.

After that, it took several attempts for city health inspectors to get inside for an inspection.

Records show inspectors were tried in June, October, November and December last year and again in January and February this year before finally being allowed in.

Nguyen said it was simply because they weren’t open for business.

When asked if they still open the business on certain days for dinner, he replied that sometimes he opens for family and sometimes other customers come.

So are they open or not? It seems that it depends on the day.

Nguyen and two other people associated with the restaurant have been charged with multiple offenses related to possession of the shark fins.

KSAT Investigates has contacted the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife for an update on the status of this case. We are waiting for an answer.

An agency spokesperson said the investigation is now in the hands of US Fish and Wildlife.


Scoring Guide:

100-90 = A (very good to fair)

89-80 = B (Acceptable to Marginal)

79 or less = C (marginal to poor)

*Metro Health indicates that scores of 69 or less are failing scores


Other scores from this week of inspections:

Sizzling wok, 100

10222 Huebner Road

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Subway #51416, 100

1315 S. St. Mary’s

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Whataburger #749, 100

18330 Blanco Road

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Circle K #2741003, 100

8355 Ecchert Road

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Dominos Pizza, 100

9714 Potranco Road

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Measure three twenty-one, 99

321 Main Avenue North

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Bill Miller BBQ #20, 98

1004 San Pedro Ave.

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House of Flavor Mexican Grill, 97

7530 Bandera Road

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Chef’s Table Mediterranean Grill, 96

1546 Babcock Road

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Big Dan’s Que N Mo #19, 95

427 Lombrano Street

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Huhot Mongolian Grill, 94

6626 W LOOP N 1604

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Restaurant Claudine, 93 years old

517 E. Grayson Street

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Taco La Gardenia-Bakery, 92

1805 N. Pine Street

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El Molino Restaurant, 91

1703 IH 35 N

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Backyard on Broadway, 90

2411 Broadway


Want to know who has good scores and who doesn’t? KSAT 12 has a new tool for this.

Just click on this link, and it will take you to a new mapping tool we have showing recent scores for San Antonio food businesses.

The reports are six months old and are frequently updated.

You can catch Tim’s BKD reports on Thursdays on Nightbeat.

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Watch more stories behind the kitchen door here

Behind the kitchen door image. (KSAT)

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