A statewide look at Florida’s top restaurant violations
When it comes to the Rodent Report, the word “trap” is never good for a restaurant
If the inspector sees something in a trap, something near a trap, mentions mouse traps, rat traps, grease traps, it’s never something that’ll put the ice cream in a restaurateur’s Popsicle. Nobody wants to be about that trap life.
That observation aside, let’s dive into this Rodent Report, taken from state inspections of food serving establishments. We don’t have anything to do with what restaurants get inspected or how strict the inspector applies standards. The report is passion-free, prejudice-free, gluten-free but seasoned with humor.
And we start with the places that were closed down for the day (or more) wholly or partially on rodent presence.
▪ Asian Grill, 7462 Royal Palm Blvd., Margate — The next worse thing to seeing the mice or rats nibbling at your food is seeing their poop near where you keep the food.
The inspector swung by on July 3 to see “approximately 24 droppings under shelves In dry storage area where food and single service items are stored. Approximately six droppings on wood pallet in dry storage area where single service items are stored. More than 15 droppings behind the dish machine. Cannot determine if fresh or dry due to the fact of numerous boxes of single service items and unused equipment blocking access.”
Also, the shelf under the prep table on the cook line was soiled with food debris.
The Asian Grill got reopened after the July 5 Call Back inspection.
▪ Dixie Pig BBQ, 4495 N. Dixie Hwy., Oakland Park — Remember what we said about “trap?” Check out the rodent portion of this June 14 inspection at Dixie Pig BBQ:
“Observed four fresh rodent droppings next to trap between true reach-in cooler and continental reach-in cooler in wait station. Observed five fresh rodent droppings behind soda machine at front counter. Observed seven fresh rodent droppings under prep table with can opener in kitchen area. Observed one fresh rodent dropping on chemical storage shelf next to three compartment sink, three fresh rodent droppings next to ice machine by backdoor. Observed four dry droppings under the three-compartment sink in the kitchen.”
Phew. Intermission. Grab some water. Now, back to the observations ...
“Observed two fresh rodent droppings between ice machine and Samsung cooler. Observed 11 fresh rodent droppings on top of Samsung reach in cooler and approximately 20 fresh rodent droppings on hoshizaki reach-in cooler. Observed approximately 10 dry rodent droppings rodent droppings found next to the Victoria reach-in cooler at cookline. Observed seven fresh rodent droppings on prep table with cooked meat at cookline, and 3 fresh rodent droppings at flip top reach-in cooler at cookline.”
Even after all of that, the inspector had time to drop a stop-sale on tomatoes, cheese, cut cabbage, potato salad, a pound of cut onions, two pounds of peppers, five pounds of pickles and 15 pounds of cooked ribs.
“Food was surrounded by rat droppings. Four rat droppings were seen at the edge of flip to cooler at cookline were foods were stored.”
The rodent portion of the June 15 Call Back inspection says “one fresh rodent dropping found on top of Samsung reach-in cooler in kitchen, approximately 15 fresh rodent droppings found on top of hoshizaki in kitchen, two dry rodent droppings next to ice machine by the back door, one fresh rodent dropping found at wait station between cash register and reach-in cooler and two fresh rodent droppings found on cookline.”
Dixie rose again on the June 16 call-back inspection. It got out of the June 22 inspection with only a stop-sale being dropped on a gallon of tomato vinegar sauce.
▪ The Original Junie’s Restaurant, 18400 NW Second Ave., North Miami-Dade — This isn’t a place you want to be even once, forget two or three times. We’re talking about The Rodent Report, not The Original Junies, which made The Rodent Report back on Aprol 30, 2017.
On June 27, the inspector saw more than seven moist rodent droppings under a shelf by a freezer, more than two moist poop pieces by the cooler that holds vegetables and more than 10 moist ones by the three-compartment sink.
But that wasn’t all.
The inspector dropped a stop-sale on porridge, ackee, cooked banana and lettuce for being kept at an improper temperature. The lettuce sat in the reach-in cooler. But the “reach-in cooler by kitchen entrance not keeping food cold. Temperature at 54°F.”
They passed the call-back inspection on June 28.
▪ Tropical Chinese Restaurant, 7991 Bird Rd., West Miami-Dade — On June 21, the inspector counted “approximately 30 fresh droppings in storage area. Approximately 30 fresh droppings in kitchen area.”
A stop-sale was slapped on two cans of ketchup and one can of straw mushroom for being dented or rusted. The rest of Tropical Chinese’s problems fall under general cleanliness
“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance on/around soda dispensing nozzles.” “Accumulation of encrusted food debris on/around mixer head.” “Slicer blade guard soiled with old food debris.”
“In-use rice scoop/spoon stored in standing water less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit.”
“Drain cover(s) missing. Observed missing drain plugs all throughout the kitchen floors.”
Tropical passed the June 22 Call back inspection and another inspection Wednesday.
Then, there’s places that stay open, but get Administrative Complaint Recommended. That’s worse than a Warning Issued.
▪ Red’s Bar & Package, 2610 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors — While the rodents appeared to have free run of the place, they had to share their track with roaches.
As for the four-legged and furry, the inspector saw, “one dry rodent dropping under liquor rack next to ice machine, four dry rodent droppings under shelf of liquor storage, one moist rodent dropping on trap under triple sink at bar, five dry rodent droppings by soda gun motor at bar.”
As for the six-legged beings with exoskeletons, the inspector saw, “two live roaches on trap behind trash can at bar corner.” and what the inspector called an “Accumulation of dead and live roaches in control devices. One dead roach on trap, at storage area next to reach in freezer, four dead roaches on trap under ice bin at bar, one dead roach on trap behind trash can at bar corner.”
And about that trap life.
▪ Spice Sea, 3811 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale — A new place means rookie mistakes.
The rodent part of Spice Sea’s inspection story starts and ends on June 29 with “rodent gnaw marks on a corner of a wood molding between cook line and steam table.”
The inspector dropped a stop-sale on butter and cut lettuce. The lettuce had been in the cooler overnight and the “operator stated the cooler was unplugged last night by mistake.”
Also, there was an “exterminator on site spraying and dusting kitchen and bar areas with pesticides. The clean plates, bowls and pans in kitchen not covered and glasses in bar area not protected.”
Some places just got a Warning Issued.
▪ Cypress East Concession Stand, 1300 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs — During the follow-up from the inspection that put them on the last Rodent Report, albeit almost a month after the original inspection, the inspector “observed seven hard dried rodent droppings in cabinet around microwave near chest freezer and two hard dried droppings on window sill by the chest freezer.”
▪ Dogma Grill, 7030 Biscayne Blvd., Miami — “Observed in the kitchen by the front counter, 30-plus dry rodent droppings underneath the soda machine. Also observed on a shelf with beer stored on it, at the front counter window, five plus dry droppings. Also inside a cabinet with employee belongings and supplies with the register, 40-plus dry rodent droppings on the shelf.”
▪ El Nuevo Prado Cafeteria, 419 Hialeah Dr., Hialeah — “Observed one dead rodent on kitchen floor behind reach in cooler.”
▪ Healthy Route 66, 1831 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables — “Observed approximately 10 dried droppings over dishwasher machine and approximately two dried droppings by storage area.”