Washington D.C. Popeyes shut down after rats shown in kitchen in viral video

Several rats are seen scurrying across the floor and running up the wall into the ceiling tiles.

A Popeye’s location in Washington D.C. is making national headlines after a video went viral showing rats running around the kitchen, and climbing the walls. 

The footage was filmed by a man who was allegedly delivering raw chicken to the Ward 6 eatery, located at 409 8th Street SE, USA Today reports. After the clip reached viral status, it caught the attention of city officials, and the fried chicken joint was immediately shut down by D.C. Health. 

Popeyes thegrio.com

The clip starts with the man standing outside Popeyes, and the lights are off inside. He offers brief narration as he prepares to take viewers inside.

“It’s this joint right here that’s wild s–t,” he says to the camera. Once inside, he flips on the lights and the house of horrors comes alive. Several rats scurry across the floor and run up the wall into the ceiling tiles. 

“You still love that chicken from Popeyes?” says the man in the video.

@blaqazzrick01#popeyeschicken #mickeymouse #ratsfarm #runandhide♬ original sound – blaqazzrick01

DC Councilmember Charles Allen responded via Twitter to the clip. “Absolutely not is right!” Allen tweeted Saturday morning. “@_DCHealth inspected and closed this site yesterday.” 

According to the report, DC Health inspected this Popeyes location three times in 2021. On April 21, the establishment was hit with four violations, including one for an exterior door that was “not rodent proof” and for dead bugs in the ceiling tiles. Management had 14 days to rectify the issues. A June 10 inspection report noted that there were no violations found. 

“It would be nice if the neighboring spots are inspected as well,” wrote one Twitter user in response to the video. “High probability that these rats are familiar with the area and have established pathways.”

Another commenter joked that the rats “were learning how to cook, they in night school.”

A third Twitter user pointed out that this area boasts “tons of other food establishments,” such as “Ted’s Bulletin, Chipotle, Pizza Boli’s, Matchbox, Cava, Nooshi, Jeni’s, Ophelia’s…to name a few. I suspect that these rats are not limited to Popeye’s,” the user wrote. 

Another chimed in with, “Every time I meet up with a guy I’m dating in Georgetown, we walk along the waterfront after dinner. It seems that the rats in the area have the same idea. I don’t mind, rats need a date night too.”

Per the Washingtonian, an Oct. 28 inspection report shows a total of 17 violations, “including rat droppings outside near the grease bin, openings in the kitchen ceiling, and water pooled in the walk-in fridge, dishwashing area, and manager’s office.”

However, it wasn’t the rat problem that got Popeye’s shut down this time. It was the non-working thermostats in the walk-in fridge and freezer, according to the report.

“Food safety and cleanliness is a top priority at Popeyes,” the company said in an emailed statement. “This restaurant has been temporarily closed, and the Franchisee who owns and operates this location is taking the appropriate steps to address the issue.”


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