Spike, Top Chef

Chuck Hodes/BRAVO

One Top Chef's burger joint has found itself in a bit of a pickle.

The suddenly ironically named Good Stuff Eatery, a Washington, D.C., burger joint opened this year by season four's hat-wearing reality chef Spike Mendelsohn, has found itself on the business end of some rather unappetizing health code violations.

The District's Dept.of Health cited the restaurant for what they have deemed several "critical" missteps, including such culinary clangers as storing beef in an alley behind his Capitol Hill café.

For his part, Mendelsohn denied any food faux pas.

"I know how to run a restaurant and I know how to keep it clean," he told D.C.'s WTOP news radio. "You can come right here and you can eat off the floor. I don't run anything unhealthy."

A Sept. 4 health inspection report cited the unsavory storage technique, along with three other Running a Restaurant 101 no-nos: not having hand-washing facilities available to employees, not properly sanitizing cutting boards and other surfaces and not separating and protecting food.

"Anything that's in my alley is not there for more than five or seven minutes," Mendelsohn told WTOP, but only after initially denying that they had even been cited for any violations. "It was meat that had just been delivered."

As it happens, the Dept. of Health is typically wise to the delivery processes of the restaurants and generally notes in reports whether food is in the process of being unloaded—as it did when it found potatoes in the alley on Sept. 5, but didn't when finding the meat just a day before, meaning the department is either getting lazy or the restaurant needs some serious restructuring.

Officials have denied being harder on the celebrity chef, and in the end, there was some good news for the Good Stuff Eatery.

Subsequent health department visits on Sept. 12 and 15 found a correction of the earlier violations and no new ones.

And, proving their sense of humor about the whole situation, or at least finding a way to capitalize on the publicity, Fox's D.C. affiliate reports that Good Stuff has created a new menu item, the cheekily-titled Back Alley Burger.

Bon appétit.

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