Forbes Qdoba closed after lawsuit, health violations

The Qdoba on Forbes Avenue has permanently closed. (Photo by Janine Faust / Contributing Editor)

The Forbes Avenue Qdoba closed after the Qdoba Restaurant Corp. sued the franchise’s owners for breach of contract because of numerous code violations.

Qdoba filed a lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Feb. 28 against Brooks Hospitality, Chad Brooks and Sally Brooks. The suit alleged the Forbes location owners breached their contract with the franchiser for “failing to maintain the highest health standards and ratings applicable to the operation of the restaurant.”

Court filings from March 6 show that the Brooks consented to Qdoba’s injunction request and the court ordered the owners to close the restaurant. The court also ordered the Brooks to hire a pest-control company and said that, at Qdoba’s discretion, they could reopen the restaurant for up to six months in order to find a buyer.

But a sign put in the restaurant Tuesday said the location was permanently closed, leading to strong reactions from students who frequented the Oakland staple. Owner Chad Brooks said Tuesday that the closure was a corporate decision. He made no mention of the lawsuit and didn’t answer phone calls Wednesday evening.

“Franchises have enormous power, and they can squash you if they want to,” Brooks said Tuesday. “They did things that would gut you.”

An Allegheny County Health Department inspection in November cited the location with seven food safety violations and three general sanitary violations. Two were “high risk,” including finding seven dead mice and numerous droppings throughout the restaurant.

All four reinspections found further pest management violations. Though the most recent inspection Jan. 17 downgraded the violation to low risk, it noted droppings near taco shells in the service line area.

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John Hamilton: @jham1496 Managing Editor