OAKLEY -- A high-profile restaurant here that hasn't yet opened was cited this week for serving food without a permit.

The owner of Carpaccio Ristorante at Main Street and Vintage Parkway will have to pay $2,526 -- three times the cost of the food facility permit it's applied for -- before the county will sign off on the document, said Marilyn Underwood, director of Contra Costa Health Services' Environmental Health Division.

Two inspectors visited the site Wednesday and spoke to owner Manuel Muñoz, who said that some of the food served at the Contra Costa County Mayors' Conference on Dec. 6 was prepared at his restaurant.

Although the business is out of compliance, "it doesn't necessarily mean that their operation was not safe," said Underwood, adding that she spoke with a few people she knew who attended the event.

"They felt fine afterward," she said.

The city of Oakley, which hosted this year's gathering, had planned to hold the meal following the business meeting at Carpaccio, which is directly opposite City Hall.

But although crews worked hard to complete the finishing touches in time for the festivities, the night before the event they were still hammering wine racks together and some of the flooring's finish hadn't completely dried.

So city leaders and Muñoz decided at the last minute to bring the food to the guests instead, and vans trundled food trays across the road to the council chamber.


Advertisement

Because workers were only preparing cheese and fruit platters at the restaurant -- nothing like red meat or fish that could spoil -- Muñoz said he thought he was in the clear. The rest of the food came from his brother's restaurant in American Canyon, he said.

"I make a really big mistake," he said.

Carpaccio also skirted fire safety rules, which stipulate that alarms, sprinklers and, in the case of a restaurant, commercial kitchen suppression systems must be installed and working before employees can do any on-site work.

As of Dec. 6, inspectors had not signed off on this equipment, according to Fire Marshal Lewis Brochard of the Contra Costa County Fire District.

Muñoz said he assumed he could use the premises because he wasn't cooking anything.

Carpaccio doesn't yet have a license to serve alcohol, either -- the state won't grant that permission until it has conducted a final inspection -- but the law makes an exception for private events where alcohol is neither sold nor normally stored and served.

The wine at the invitation-only conference was donated by a winery and waste disposal company, according to City Manager Bryan Montgomery.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.