A Decatur-area restaurant closed for nearly eight weeks after a rat infestation spilled over a from a pet store next door reopened for business Friday afternoon, just in time for New Year’s Eve, Channel 2 Action News reports.
“It’s been a six- to seven-month ordeal, and we're glad it's over," Aaron Melton, owner of Melton’s App and Tap, told Channel 2 as patrons lined up outside the restaurant, waiting for it to open its doors for the first time since Nov. 6.
That day, Melton voluntarily closed his restaurant at 2500 N. Decatur Road in the Medlock Plaza shopping center after a rat was spotted in the eatery.
One customer, Louise Stark, told Channel 2 on Friday, "I feel so bad for Melton’s that they have to suffer so much for somebody else's mistakes."
The rodent problem began in July. A pest specialist hired by the shopping center’s owner traced the problem to the Pets Supermarket next door, where rodents had gotten into the store’s pet food.
"It started out as a minor problem, but towards the end, as the rodents got more desperate, they wandered into our dining room," Melton said.
The restaurant owner eventually went to court and got a judge’s order shutting down Pet Supermarket on Oct. 20 and keeping it closed until it eradicated the rat problem. A DeKalb Superior Court Judge on Nov. 23 gave permission for the store to reopen.
Shortly thereafter, Melton decided to spend the money to reopen his eatery.
Melton said the entire episode has cost him more than $250,000. Part of that cost went toward constructing a brick wall to separate his restaurant from the pet store.
“I’m extremely angry about it. I think the whole thing could have been avoided,” Melton said. He told Channel 2 he is suing the pet store over his lost revenues.
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