Thurston County Public Health and Social Services attached this notice to the door of Main Chinese Buffet in Lacey on Dec. 15 after the restaurant demonstrated no improvement over a previous inspection.


Main Chinese Buffet in Lacey was set to be re-inspected Wednesday (Dec. 22) after it was closed by Thurston County health officials a week ago, according to a notice affixed to the door of the business.

The closure of the eatery at 5580 Martin Way E. was confirmed by a county employee Tuesday.

The business was inspected in November and again on Dec. 15, but after the restaurant showed no improvement during the second inspection — and racked up about 100 red points in violations — the decision was made to close it, said Art Starry, environmental health division director for Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.

During last week’s inspection, the restaurant received red points for improper heating and cooling of food, and for storing food at room temperature, Starry said.

Food that is not properly cooled or heated can lead to food-borne illnesses, he said.

County officials also are concerned that because the business has not shown recent improvement in its health inspection scores, it might reflect a lack of managerial control, Starry said.

A manager who hasn’t been properly trained in food safety can mean that employees aren’t properly trained as well, he said.

Starry acknowledged that it’s a big restaurant with a complex menu, which could be difficult for an untrained manager.

The Olympian visited the restaurant on Tuesday. Although the business was closed, the doors were open. Inside, employees were busy getting ready for Wednesday’s re-inspection.

The Olympian also encountered a language barrier. One woman said the business had a plumbing problem. Another woman, Diana Dong, who identified herself as an acquaintance of the owners, confirmed Wednesday’s re-inspection, but she declined to answer other questions.

Starry said he was unaware of a plumbing problem at the business.

He said county health officials will meet with the owners on Wednesday to see how the restaurant operates before it is allowed to reopen. If the business is operating properly, it could be allowed to reopen Wednesday afternoon, he said.

This story was originally published December 22, 2021 5:45 AM.

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Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.