Pushap restaurant still popular despite history of fines

Pushap restaurant owner Vipan Mohan says customers showed their support by giving him his busiest day in the last 30 years right after the Journal de Montréal printed an article calling the business "incorrigible."

Customers remain loyal to West Island restaurant, say they're not worried about inspection reports

Vipan Mohan owns Pushap restaurant on Sources Blvd. 'Our heart, our restaurant is open for everyone to come and check and tell us whether or not it's clean,' he said. (Shari Okeke)

Vipan Mohan, the owner of Pushap on Sources Boulevard, says despite a Journal de Montréal headline calling his Indian vegetarian restaurant "incorrigible" because of fines he has faced since 2012, he is not discouraged and his customers are supportive.

"Saturday [was] the busiest day of my restaurant in last 30 years," he said, convinced that it was a response to the article.

In the kitchen at Pushap

8 years ago
Duration 0:32
Restaurant owner Vipan Mohan says the kitchen problems that led to fines from the city have long since been resolved.

'Why are they bothering you?'

Mohan says customers have been asking about an article which points out he was fined $3,800 in October 2015 for an infraction the City of Montreal says was committed in October 2014.

"Everybody's coming to see what's going on. [They ask] 'Why are they bothering you?'" Mohan said.

The 2015 fine as well as previous fines had to do with cleanliness in the restaurant as well as food temperatures in the refrigerator.

A spokesperson for the city of Montreal declined an interview request by CBC, stating in an email that the situation has been resolved and there is no "imminent danger" to the health of consumers.

The city of Montreal's email went on to say most of Pushap's infractions happened in 2011, and Mohan has since met twice with the city's food inspection department. 

"The problem was our ignorance. We never knew how to reach the level of clean [the city wanted]," said Mohan.

He says he has since taken a hygiene course and learned about the types of cleaners and degreasers the city expects him to use.

'We will not lose faith'

Pushap restaurant has been in business on the West Island for about 30 years.

"People who used to come as boyfriend and girlfriend, they got married, they have kids and their kids have kids so...we have third-generation customers," Mohan said.

Customers at the restaurant this week insist reports about the fines will not sway them.

"We will not lose faith in this place. We know this place, we grew up on it and our kids are eating [here]," said Bob Farhat, who says he's been a Pushap customer for at least 18 years.

Bala Tharmalingam has only been to Pushap on Sources Boulevard twice. He is more familiar with Pushap on Paré Street, which is owned by Mohan's brother.

Still, he says, he's not worried about the inspection reports.

"If you start really considering all that, you wouldn't go to any restaurants in my opinion," Tharmalingam said.

Mohan is so confident about the current condition of his restaurant, he's inviting anyone with concerns to come in for a tour and ask him about it.

"First come here, walk into my restaurant, see my kitchen, see my basement, then eat. After eating we'll talk," he said.