Restaurant News & Reviews

Rodents ran free at these restaurants. And four of them were shut down

The monthly Rodent Report features a new violations record by El Pub, one of four restaurants that got closed for the day partially or wholly on rodent presence. Rigaud Adeline, Seafood Express Garlic Crab House and Strahmore Bagels & Deli also got closed. Eleven other restaurants got cited.
The monthly Rodent Report features a new violations record by El Pub, one of four restaurants that got closed for the day partially or wholly on rodent presence. Rigaud Adeline, Seafood Express Garlic Crab House and Strahmore Bagels & Deli also got closed. Eleven other restaurants got cited. File

While much of South Florida went on vacation in July, the local restaurant rodents took their vacations at different restaurants. So, let’s look at where their poop has been:

This month’s Rodent Report starts with restaurants state inspectors ordered immediately shut down because of rodent activity.

▪ El Pub Restaurant, 1548 SW Eighth St., Miami — This restaurant recorded 76 violations on July 26, with poop pellets accounting for one of the 11 High Priority violations: “Observed one moist dropping on top of storage container lid in dry storage area. Observed three dry droppings on floor underneath storage container. Observed 20 + dry droppings on shelf in dry storage area. Observed approximately two dry droppings on top of marinara sauce can.” The marinara sauce isn’t the only thing you might want to avoid: “ Cooked lamb and meat sauce not date marked. As per employee, it was prepared 2 days ago.” This, it was noted, was a repeat violation. Also, “Soil residue in food storage containers with dry rice and black beans.” The inspector also wasn’t thrilled with the availability of El Pub Classic: “Meat grinder and food processor soiled with old food debris.” When the inspector returned the next day, apparently the only thing that changed about the lamb and meat sauce was age: “prepared three days ago.” El Pub finally got it together July 28 to be allowed to reopen.

▪ Rigaud Adeline, 8427 NE Second Ave., Miami — Only three High Priority violations were recorded on July 24, but they all were live: rodents, roaches, winged insects. The rodent part was expressed by “approximately 10-15 hard droppings around front counter.” Rigaud was back open July 25.

▪ Seafood Express Garlic Crab House, 4269 NW 12th St., Lauderhill — It’s not back-to-back no-hitters, but two shut-downs in a month (July 12 and 27) deserve some notice. Rodents played a role only in the first one: “observed approximately 80 fresh droppings under the shelves of the dry storage area.”

▪ Strahmore Bagels and Deli, 10020 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise — The July 5 inspection showed these rodents had the run of the kitchen: “eight fresh rodent droppings found under dishwashing machine, six fresh rodent droppings found in kitchen under food preparation table, three dry rodent dropping found in dry storage room, three fresh rodent droppings found in dry storage room and one fresh dropping found under the three-compartment sink.” This was enough for a shutdown, though there were only two other High Priority violations and eight total violations.

These restaurants got Administrative Complaint Recommended, which means the inspector was within an eye roll of shutting the places down.

▪ El Taquito, 1380 SW Eighth St., Miami — The inspector “observed approximately three dry droppings by mop sink backsplash; two dry droppings at wood board by the three-compartment sink; and three dry droppings at the wall next reach in cooler back preparation area.” But the inspector also saw some moving non-human life: “Observed a live fly inside a container of granulated garlic on bottom shelf of flat grill.” The inspector “observed employee rinse a cooking utensil (tongs) after dropping it on the floor, then not washing or sanitizing.” But, as far as the hands that picked up the tongs, would they be washed properly when there was “no soap provided at handwash sink?” Also, the inspector noticed El Taquito has undergone a little expansion. It’s licensed for eight seats. During the July 24 inspection, 43 were in use.

▪ Mai Kai Polyesian Restaurant, 3599 N. Federal Hwy., Oakland Park — Oh, there were more problems here than “approximately 40 under the dry storage closet shelves. A mix of wet and dry. One under the soda machine in the kitchen.” Such as, “Employee used handwash sink as a dump sink. The sink near the kitchen soda machines had a creamy liquid dumped inside.” Apparently somebody forgot to put Tilex on the grocery list because “Multiple walls soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area.” Plus, don’t look up before you dine: “Ceiling shows damage or is in disrepair. Multiple locations in the receptionist area. Signs of water damage. Ceiling in dry storage closet badly water damaged. Water damage in the ceiling in the dry storage area. Multiple locations in the dining room covered in black plastic.”

These restaurants got off with just a Warning after their inspections.

▪ Cafe N’ Clave, 524 W. 27th St., Hialeah — As politics and driving long have shown, sometimes, the rules are different in Hialeah. This restaurant got just a warning despite seven High Priority violations, including “observed approximately four dry and crumbly droppings in back area by sanitizer buckets. Observed six behind reach-in cooler in kitchen.”

▪ Elio Cafeteria, 50 E. 10th Ave., Hialeah — Elio stayed open despite a July 21 inspection with 25 overall violations, six being High Priority citings. In that group was “observed approximately seven dry rodent dropping by kitchen wall edge, approximately 25 dry rodent droppings on the floor by kitchen corner next to fryer.” Also: “Rodent rub marks present along walls/ceilings. In kitchen wall by electric piping.”

▪ Esquina Cuba, 299 W. 27th St., Hialeah -- The only High Priority violation told of “approximately 40 dry and crumbly rodent droppings inside cabinet under kitchen handsink. Cabinets have seasoning cans, olive oil bottles, paper towels, and personal items. Two droppings are on top of cans of evaporated milk. One on top of a container of evaporated milk. Six droppings on top of alumni in tray that has seasoning containers.”

▪ Jackson’s Prime, 3300 NE 32nd St., Fort Lauderdale — A solo poop piece near a kitchen drain.

▪ Miami Squeeze, 18315 W. Dixie Hwy., near North Miami Beach — What the rodents squeezed out at Miami Squeeze was “approximately 45-50 dry rodent droppings surrounding AC unit held in front line kitchen. Observed approximately 10-15 dry rodent droppings behind refrigerator in back kitchen.”

▪ Mozzarella, 7930 NW 36th St., Doral — The mice working this joint might have moved on, judging by “observed approximately eight dry crumbly droppings on back wall in right corner to right of white freezer.”

▪ Nueva San Salvador Restaurant No. 3, 483 E. First Ave., Hialeah — The inspector didn’t sock it to ‘em though he saw “approximately 20 dry droppings in a storage closet with large hole in the wall.”

▪ The Taco Spot, 1500 N. Boardwalk, Hollywood — That’s wasn’t taco meat on the ground, it was “four dry droppings from rodent in beer keg storage area on floor under shelf. One dry rodent dropping under a box at check out register area.”

▪ Opa-locka’s El Bori Cafe, 4090 NW 132nd St., received no warning, no emergency shutdown order, nothing, although they can hardly stick their chests too far out. The July 10 inspection report did include “approximately 20 rodent dropping observed in dry storage area.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal