Are restaurant inspectors getting more aggressive? Or are roach-plagued restaurants not putting up a fight? Whatever the case, we’ve got a lively Roach Report to follow the Rodent Report released earlier this week.
Of the 16 Miami-Dade restaurants spotted with live roaches, 15 were shut down for the day.
What follows is taken directly from the state restaurant inspection reports without passion or prejudice, but definitely with humor. We don’t choose who gets inspected or why some places with 70 violations stay open while some get shut down with nine.
As usual, we start with the places shut down for the day (or more) wholly or mainly on roach presence.
▪ The Back of the Road Sports Grill, 15420 SW 136th St., South Miami-Dade — A dead rodent during the Feb. 13 inspection put this place on the Rodent Report. About 24 live roaches around the freezer used for beer mugs, around reach-in cooler gaskets, under the kitchen prep table and on the three-compartment sink helped get the place shut down.
Back of the Road failed the Feb. 14 re-inspection partially because the inspector spotted 12 live roaches strolling around. They got an “Emergency Order Callback Time Extension,” which means the inspector says the ongoing problems are beyond the establishment’s control.
▪ Crepemaker, 7535 Dadeland Mall, Kendall — Between the last Rodent Report and this Roach Report, three places got shut down on the re-inspection after getting off with a warning on the original inspection. After no roaches and a Warning Issued on Feb. 12, Crepemaker had five dead roaches and seven roaches ripping and running around the three-compartment sink on Feb. 13.
Also not helping: “Interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue. All coolers.” Crepemaker wrapped things up enough to get back open Feb. 14.
READ MORE: Go to the Dining Adviser for reviews and inspection reports.
▪ Empire Szechuan, 3427 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach — Not much was right on Feb. 16, as evidenced by 39 violations, six of the High Priority kind.
Certainly the roach content, 15 live ones near the cookline, dishwashing area and a wall near the ice machine, seemed too alive and populous. That’s despite “tracking powder pesticide used throughout the establishment,” a big no-no. But maybe without that, the 15 dead roaches in the dishwashing area and throughout the kitchen would be alive and scurrying.
Other highlights: the dishwasher wasn’t sanitizing at all; accumulation of debris on the outside of the dishwasher and lime scale inside it; “soil residue in food storage containers. Flour/sugar, etc.;” and “Wall soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area.”
Empire didn’t rise for the Feb. 19 re-inspection, during which the inspector spotted 10 live roaches in the kitchen. The restaurant flunked again Feb. 20, but this time, only five live roaches were seen in the kitchen. Empire got back in business after the Feb. 21 re-inspection.
Observed 46 containers 12 oz each of raw cow milk being sold and used on premises, labeled not for human consumption
From the Feb. 5 state inspection report on Fritanga La Gata
▪ Fritanga Mini Market La Gata, 2175 SW First St., Miami — This small place had 12 live roaches on Feb. 5, three of them on a shelf and five on an oven door. Some of the other 11 High Priority violations:
An employee worked with raw food then ready-to-eat food without a good hand-washing. The kitchen doesn’t have a hand sink. Raw cow’s milk, labeled as not being for human consumption, was being used for human consumption. All manner of food being kept at bad temperatures.
A Basic violation that seems more a zoning violation: “living/sleeping quarters that open directly into a public food service establishment without complete partitioning and/or self-closing doors.”
They got a time extension on Feb. 6 and were back open for a Feb. 20 inspection that managed fewer High Priority violations (one) but 10 more overall violations. Yet it stayed open.
▪ Imperial Buffet, 218 NE Eighth St., Homestead — Four live roaches in the kitchen on Jan. 31, including one crawling on the door of a reach-in cooler.
Why do people order bottled water in restaurants? Because of inspection notes such as “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance on/around soda dispensing nozzles.”
Imperial passed the Feb. 1 re-inspection and had only Basic violations on the Feb. 19 inspection.
▪ Kung Fu Sushi, 1720 Collins Ave., Miami Beach —Judging from the inspector’s report from Feb. 20, the Kung Fu Sushi kitchen staff better be kicking, swatting and stomping like Bruce Lee. In addition to 30 to 35 live roaches behind a reach-in cooler, 15 to 20 flies zipped around the kitchen area.
Those were the only two High Priority violations. Among the Intermediates are hate-to-hear-that violations “encrusted material on can opener blade” and “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the ice machine.” Oh, and there was standing water on the floor.
Kung Fu Sushi was back chopping on Feb. 21.
▪ La Cueva Taberna Internacional, 2742 SW Eighth St., Miami — Another repeater from the Rodent Report, suffered on its Feb. 5 inspection less from live roach volume as much as location, location, location.
Four live ones on a slicer, at least three inside a reach-in cooler, four on a cook line shelf, at least three inside the restroom and one live one under a dining room table.
They got a “Time Extension” on Feb. 6. They eventually reopened, but scored just well enough to stay open on a Feb. 20 inspection.
▪ Las Dos Palmas, 12992 SW 89th Ave, South Miami-Dade — The walls near the kitchen ceiling, around the walk-in cooler had 11 live roaches and roach excrement on Feb. 13.
Instead of thawing beef in a refrigerator as good food safety dictates, the staff thawed it at room temperature in a bucket. But they believe in duct tape —“duct tape used to repair nonfood-contact surface. Ice machine door covered in black tape.”
Las Dos Palmas passed re-inspection on Feb. 14.
▪ Maya-Mex, 886 Krome Ave., Homestead — The inspector on Jan. 30 saw six live roaches in search of an exit from three unused ovens. But the running about roaches played supporting roles to the food in Maya-Mex’s shut down.
A Stop Sale got slapped on two cans of pineapple for being dented or rusted. And 8 pounds of cooked chicken, 10 pounds of cooked beef and 6 pounds of cooked beef sauce were more than seven days old.
Maya-Mex, a Homestead favorite for Mexican food, was back open Jan. 31 and passed its Feb. 19 inspection with no issues.
1/2 tray of plantains chips observed dead roaches inside
From the Feb. 5 state inspection of Mi Habana Cafe
▪ Mi Habana Cafe, 10302 NW 87th Ave., Northwest Miami-Dade — Well, we know what was inside the wall behind the three-compartment sink on Feb. 5, based on the inspector seeing 10 live roaches and 100 pieces of roach excrement on the wall behind the sink.
A few roaches gave their lives causing a Stop Sale on the plantain chips: “1/2 tray of plantains chips observed dead roaches inside.”
The official overall body count went “20 plus by three-compartment sink floor, 60 plus in kitchen floor different areas, approximately 2 inside of fryers chips container kitchen prep table, approximately 10 inside of mop sink.”
Mi Habana got it together for the Feb. 6 re-inspection and passed a Feb. 21 inspection.
▪ Miami River Cafe, 350 NW Eighth Ave., Miami — The inspector found 26 violations, including six High Priority violations, including seeing five live roaches crawling around inside a broken ice machine. Six dead ones were in there, also.
Some food had to be thrown out for being kept at improper temperature after being cooked the previous day: cooked chicken, cooked pork, rice, yellow rice, pico de gallo, refried beans, pastor pork and cooked steak.
There were severalreach-in cooler violations, including standing water; an accumulation of food residue; pitted and rusty shelves and a messed up gasket.
Saturday’s re-inspection didn’t go much better when the inspector saw “approximately 20+ live roaches crawling under the preparation tables located in cook line area.” They passed an inspection Monday.
▪ New Hong Kong, 3116 W. 76th St., Hialeah — Triple digits on any inspection grabs the eyes like shocking pink: 100 pieces of roach excrement or droppings under kitchen prep tables.
That got your attention even more than 28 live roaches, although 10 of them being on the take out prep table and another 10 being on a kitchen prep table might get your attention on location. Another 10 lay dead under the reach-in cooler.
The walk-in cooler was a walk-in disaster with “shelves with rust that has pitted the surface;” “shelves soiled with encrusted food debris;” and “stored food not covered in walk-in cooler. Plastic containers with cooked BBQ pork, fried chicken,spring rolls and veggie rolls.”
Besides, the restaurant lacked a license from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants. But it did pass the Feb. 14 re-inspection.
▪ New Hong Kong City, 6868 NW 169th St., North Miami-Dade — Inspectors observed 11 live roaches, including seven under a kitchen prep table, and 60 dead roaches, including 25 inside a dry storage door frame.
This was on Jan. 30. They passed re-inspection on Jan. 31 (on the second try) and had a normal inspection Feb. 20.
▪ Wendy’s, 8100 W. 33rd Ave., Hialeah — Rarely do the big chains make an appearance in the Shut Down corner of the Roach Report. But on Jan. 30, in addition to about five live roaches at the front counter, the inspector saw 15 dead ones on the front counter register, a shelf underneath the front counter and the floor under the front counter cash register. The roach poop count reached 50 pieces.
Wendy’s reopened after a Jan. 31 re-inspection and passed a Feb. 22 inspection.
▪ Casa Panza Cafe, 1680 SW Eighth St., Miami — One live one on a reach-in cooler door.
Sometimes, live roaches don’t mean dead business. Cases in point:
▪ La Cueva Del Pirata, 1255 W. 46th St., Hialeah — Two live roaches by the dishwashing machine, but La Cueva stayed open despite 30 violations, including seven High Priority shortcomings.