La Tabella

Following five successive health inspections which resulted in a “C” grade, the owners of La Tabella on James Island closed the Italian-American restaurant. Brad Nettles/Staff

Following five successive health inspections that resulted in a “C” grade, La Tabella on James Island has closed.

Owner Carol Newman says she and her husband have no plans to reopen the restaurant, but it’s up for sale, so may return to business with the La Tabella name. “We’ve got several interested parties,” Newman says.

The Newmans nine years ago opened La Tabella on Harborview Road, serving an Italian-American menu of salads, pizzas, pastas and seafood plates. In an early review for The Post and Courier, Deidre Schipani noted the restaurant was built for “longevity.”

“The servers hustle and the owners schmooze and James Islanders have a destination spot for red sauce (and) red meat,” she wrote.

Unfortunately, in recent weeks, the restaurant was also visited by vermin.

An S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control inspector on May 1 “observed dead roaches along baseboards and ledges in kitchen,” as well as roaches crawling over the walls, floors, shelves and sinks. The restaurant was also marked down for mildew in its cooler; “an accumulation of organic residue” in the dishwasher; meatballs held at the incorrect temperature and employees not washing their hands before handling food.

“Staffing has been an issue,” Newman allows.

On a follow-up visit the next day, an inspector found the burner stove was infested with roaches. Roaches were also present for follow-up visits on May 9, May 15 and May 20, all of which yielded “C” grades.

Newman says it was their decision this week to call it quits; a DHEC spokeswoman confirms the restaurant was not ordered by the state to close. 

“We decided it was time to retire,” Carol Newman says. “But we certainly enjoyed our time there and made lots of people happy.”

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

Food editor and chief critic

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