Update: Health Department closes 6 restaurants, businesses

By  and , Daily Memphian Updated: December 07, 2020 5:05 PM CT | Published: December 06, 2020 1:24 PM CT

The Shelby County Health Department closed six restaurants and businesses over the weekend, including two locations of T.J. Mulligan’s.

In a notice sent out Dec. 7, the Health Department said the restaurants each were closed Dec. 5 for 14 days, “due to multiple documented violations of requirements and provisions of Health Directive 15 based on enforcement inspections conducted Friday, December 4.”

The six sites closed are: Brinson’s at 341 Madison Ave.; E2 Ultra Lounge, 1675 Barcrest Road; Menu Club, 6616 Winchester; Tex’s Roadhouse, 4396 Old Raleigh-LaGrange Road; and the T.J. Mulligan’s locations at 2821 N. Houston Levee Road and 8071 Trinity Road, both in Cordova.

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Notices on the doors at T.J. Mulligan’s read:

“THIS BUSINESS IS CLOSED DUE TO IMMINENT HEALTH HAZARDS until permission is granted to reopen by the Health Department, at which time this card will be removed.”

The restaurants can seek permission to reopen after Dec. 19 by submitting plans to come into compliance with the health directive, the Health Department said. 

On the door at the Mulligan’s Trinity location, the notice is pasted over a handwritten one from the management that reads “No smoking until further....” The rest of the sign can’t be read because of the notice.

On Sunday around 11:30 a.m., Jim Clark showed up at the restaurant on Trinity. He said he’s been a regular patron of the place for about 15 years and was there Saturday from about 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

He said Health Department officials came to the restaurant on Friday night and that restaurant management responded to what was presumed to be the violation. The “no smoking” sign was put on the door.

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“They were making sure everyone wore a mask when they got up to go to the bathroom or anything,” he said. “They weren’t allowing any smoking and they didn’t have any of the tables set up at the bar (on Saturday, Dec. 5).

Smoking is prohibited in all businesses under Health Directive 15, which went in effect Nov. 23. However, the sign says the business is closed under Health Directive 14.

Lee Adams, who owns the restaurants, was at the location on Kirby Parkway Sunday afternoon, Dec. 6, which remains open. 

“The Health Department is doing their job,” Adams said. “That’s my position.”

The reasons he cited for the closure were too many people to a table, customers entering without masks and the lack of contact tracing. Previously people voluntarily signed in at the door, he said. Now he has an employee at the Kirby Parkway location assigned to write down customers’ names and phone numbers.

A Health Department official came in and said “you’re not following the protocol,” Adams recalled.

Although there were violations of the directive, he feels the closure was abrupt.

“We’ve never had a warning,” he said. “We’ve never had a violation … I thought they were supposed to educate.”

City of Memphis code enforcement posted on its 311 website that the Houston Levee location was in compliance Wednesday, but by Friday the Health Department found issues to contest. The Health Department official took photos, which irritated some customers.

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The two locations will be closed up to two weeks, which Adams pointed out will put employees out of work in the middle of the holiday season.

He’s not sure if he can reopen sooner but plans to work with the Health Department Monday.


Restaurants and COVID-19 Restaurants COVID-19 closing T.J. Mulligan's Lee Adams
Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs is a native Memphian and veteran food writer and journalist who covers all things food, dining and spirits related for The Daily Memphian.

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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