A new south-side South Bend restaurant is currently closed.
The owner of Passport Woodfire Grill, which opened in early August at 1290 E. Ireland Road, says he plans to reopen the doors.
But city and county officials say the restaurant needs multiple permits before it can serve area diners again.
The restaurant's food permit has been suspended, says Rita Hooton, food service director at the St. Joseph County Health Department, because Passport does not have a valid occupancy permit.
While Passport owner Christopher Kohut obtained a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city building department to open the restaurant on Aug. 3, that permit expired Labor Day weekend.
Jim Markle, a design and plan review specialist with the St. Joseph County-South Bend Building Department, says the permit was not renewed because the city has not received payment for it.
Without the permit, Passport is not allowed to occupy the building.
"He's out of compliance all the way around," says Hooton, who posted signage on the front of the restaurant Thursday about the food permit suspension.
Since the Erskine Village restaurant was placed on probation in June, Hooton says health department officials also have been unable to complete a probation inspection because of the restaurant's inconsistent hours. Inspections are unannounced if a restaurant is on probation, Hooton says.
Passport had been placed on probation for opening its doors for a private event in June and serving food before the required business permits were in hand.
Kohut hasn't applied or paid for a license to operate a business within the city limits, Hooton said.
In an e-mail Thursday, Kohut says Passport does not have any health department violations.
But he is aware a new occupancy permit will need to be obtained because of the temporary closing.
"Yes, we are currently closed. We have been closed because I became ill," writes Kohut. He says he has also realized "a lot of changes needed to be done for the restaurant to be successful."
So when the restaurant reopens -- a timeframe has not been announced -- Kohut says, there will be a new menu, new hours, new management and new staff.
It will be "a more reliable business," Kohut writes.
"We were planning on (reopening) next week, but that will not be happening. We still need to train an entirely new staff. And I will not reopen until we are absolutely ready and everything is perfect," Kohut writes.
He adds how he has "never encountered the obstacles needed to overcome with the city nor the negativity from the public on opening a restaurant here."
But Kohut says he is not going to give up.