Watertown Landmark Closes To Protect Customer Health & Safety

Watertown Landmark Closes To Protect Customer Health & Safety

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The Crystal Restaurant in downtown Watertown has temporarily closed after the city condemned two apartments above the eatery.

In a post on its Facebook page, The Crystal said it voluntarily shut its doors "to protect the health and safety of our customers and the integrity of our service."

The restaurant, which is a landmark in Watertown, has been in business since 1919, according to its Facebook page. It's owned by the Dephtereos family, which rents the space from Ricky Frazier.

7 News reached out to the Dephtereos family and Frazier for comment. We'll update this story if we hear from them.

According to Shawn McWayne, city code supervisor, the apartments above The Crystal were condemned in February after garbage, bed bugs and cockroaches were found inside. He said Frazier was sent a letter two weeks before to clean up the apartments, which did not happen.

"Both apartments were filthy. One - the dog was allowed free throughout the one apartment and do whatever it did throughout the apartment, plus trash and debris," said McWayne.

McWayne said his department was first notified about the apartments when a tenant called and complained about having no heat.

"We went in, gave the owner time to fix everything and clean it up by a certain date, I think it was February 16. He didn't get it done," said McWayne.

The Crystal was not condemned and the Dephtereos family said rumors that the health department shut down the restaurant are false.

"As renters, we have no control over what transpires above us," the family posted on Facebook. "We took every possible precaution and implemented every possible solution we could to protect our property and customers, to no avail. As a last resort, we decided to close to fully remedy the situation."

The family said closing was a difficult decision.

"The consequences are serious, mainly for our loyal, valued employees who now find themselves unemployed. Their security is foremost on our minds and we are eager to get them back to work," the Facebook post said.

McWayne said it cost the city between $12,000 and $14,000 to clean and exterminate the apartments. Frazier will be billed for the work. If he fails to pay the bill, a lien will be placed on the building, McWayne said.

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