A statewide look at Florida’s top restaurant violations
“Observed dead roach inside uncooked rice.”
And the green flag falls on another run with the rodents, roaches and refuse of Miami-Dade and Broward restaurants. The above was the first violation we saw on the first inspection perused.
This Sick and Shut Down List (not to be confused with the Sick-and-Shut-In list, the folks your church says could use some visiting) comes from state restaurant inspections. We control neither who gets inspected nor how strictly. We present it without passion or prejudice, but with a bucket of humor. (And a hazmat suit. Or rubber gloves.)
All of these restaurants got shut down for at least the day last week after the drop-in visit by an inspector.
▪ Bocas Grill, 3399 NW 72nd Ave., West Miami-Dade — The inspector dropped a Stop Sale on the rice for temperature abuse. Maybe the Bocas Grill staff should have fed the rice to the rodents as a little chemical warfare.
The inspector saw “Rodent burrow or rodent nesting materials present. Observed three holes on the wall and perpendicular to the floor with evidence of gnawing in the storage area.
“The wall is adjacent to the kitchen.”
Moreover, “observed approximately more than 100 dry but not crumbly rodent droppings on the floor behind chest freezer and under shelving in dry storage area,” where there are cases of vegetables and dry food.
Also, somebody needs to realize the limitations of gloves: “Single-use gloves not changed as needed after changing tasks or when damaged or soiled. Observed employees touching bare body parts and not washing hands and changing gloves.”
Speaking of handwashing, the inspector saw handwash sink issues — not accessible, being used for something else (rinsing and washing utensils) and no way to dry your hands.
You might want to order your drinks without ice because there was “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”
Among the food that’s supposed to be kept at 41 degrees or under that measured well over were noodles, shredded cheese, guacamole, raw chicken and sweet plantains.
On the callback, they got Administrative Complaint Recommended, which is sort of “still open but you’re on double secret probation.”
When the inspector came back, there were still cut tomatoes, pasta, beef, yucca and raw beef inside the reach-in cooler for more than a day.
▪ Carl’s Seafood Restaurant Take out, 2934 N. State Rd. 7, Lauderdale Lakes — On Aug. 28, the inspector saw “seven live roaches under the small steam table at front counter.”
Proper basic handling of food seemed to be an issue: “fish and chicken not covered in walk in cooler” and “fish thawing at room temperature on a prep table.”
Despite the relatively light nature of their shutdown violations, Carl’s still needed two callback inspections to get things right.
▪ Ceviche Inka, 14762 SW 56th St., South Miami-Dade — Friday didn’t have that Groove Line-Sweet Freedom vibe after the inspector visited, although the staff was done for the weekend.
Let’s start with the bugs.
The inspector saw three live and four dead roaches behind a reach-in freezer, two live roaches by the kitchen handwash sink, one live and one dead roach under the cook line grill, one live roach crawling on the closet door and one dead roach “stuck on the inside of the closet door,” one live roach on a kitchen wall, and four dead roaches “stuck in a light shield in kitchen lights.”
Here’s a violation you expect to see more with gas station sushi: “Nonexempt fish offered raw or undercooked has not undergone proper parasite destruction. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded. Operator provides raw ceviche in which they use swai and corvina, at the time of the inspection no parasite destruction provided.”
Employees couldn’t get to the handwash sink which was blocked by a garbage can. Move the garbage can and there’s no paper towels or mechanical hand drying device.”
“Objectionable odor in establishment. Kitchen area from drains floor.”
When the inspector went to the reach-in cooler, problems emerged with “soiled residue” on the cooler handles. Inside, stored fish wasn’t covered.
And workers knew the cooked beef and cooked rice in the reach-in freezer were more than a day old. But, without a date on it, they couldn’t say how old.
Oh, and they tried to be slick about adding seating. “Establishment did not report seating change that affects the license fee, Clean Indoor Air Act, sewage system approval or other related requirements. Observed approximately 70 seats in the establishment, license shows only 30.
On Tuesday’s first callback inspection, the inspector saw “approximately eight live roaches come out from paper towel dispenser above hand wash sink in kitchen.”
Ceviche Inka got reopen on the second callback inspection of the second day of the week.
▪ China Buffet, 18690 NW 67th Ave., Northwest Miami-Dade — Buffets usually mean a smorgasbord of violations.
Vermin? We’ve got that. “Two dead roaches under the beverage shelf in the server area. Three dead roaches at the canned food storage area, two in the second beverage station by the ice machine. One dead roach in the rice storage area.”
Handwashing? Got that, too. “Observed no washing hands and gloves when changing tasks.”
Stop Sales? The inspector started dropping those like freestyle rhymes once much of the prepared food was judged to be too warm: cut onions, bean sprouts, broccoli, raw shell egg, raw meat, raw chicken, raw shrimp and cut cabbage all went to visit Oscar the Grouch.
Dirty cookware? Oh, yes. “Food placed in soiled container/equipment. Sauces placed in buckets containers in walk in cooler.”
▪ Cilantro and Limes, 941 W. Palm Dr., Florida City — The inspector saw more than six live roaches in “an unused ice cooler in the kitchen near clean utensils” and more than three others “crawling on shelves in front of the stove in the kitchen.”
A plastic container with cookware had one dead roach.
Oh, and, employees who want to wash their hands in the front counter handwashing sink? No soap (or hand towels or blow dryer) for you.
▪ Fortune Dragon, 7178 N. University Dr., Tamarac — First glance at this inspection, we thought, “shut down without a violation involving a living non-human thing?”
Then, we saw, “Observed approximately 25 flies by the dishmachine area.” Never mind.
Still, 12 Basic violations among 16 overall violations usually don’t add up to done-for-the-day.
But, such violations as “walk-in cooler/walk-in freezer floor soiled;” “Walk-in cooler and/or walk-in freezer shelves soiled with encrusted food debris;” and “Employee wearing jewelry other than a plain ring on their hands/arms while preparing food” brought misfortune to Fortune.
Fortune Dragon managed to repeat many violations the next day at the first callback inspection. The restaurant passed the second callback inspection on Aug. 29.
▪ Gari Maria, 229 NW 22nd Ave., Miami — The roots of Gari Maria’s Aug. 27 shutdown lay in one Basic violation: “Perimeter walls and roofs do not effectively protect establishment against environmental cross contamination or the entrance of pests. Observed operator set up with a grill outside with a tent without walls-no hand sink, no three compartment sink.”
Seven of the other 13 violations grow from that setup for selling arepas, grilled corn and cut mangoes.
The inspector dropped a Stop Sale on Gari Maria’s chicken soup, rice and beans for being kept at too cool a temperature.
All was well Aug. 28.
▪ Holiday Inn, 3255 NW 87th Ave., Doral — Not much wrong — five violations, two High Priority ones —- but enough for the inspector to close then down on Aug. 30.
The inspector saw “approximately eight roaches underneath table in kitchen area. Also, observed three more live roaches in crevices between shelf and wall and four more on holes in walls in kitchen area as well.”
Also, the kitchen walls had eyes. No, wait, those were just holes.
They passed Friday’s callback.
▪ Mingies Chinese Restaurant, 760 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens — Seen Aug. 30 at Mingies: “One live mouse in kitchen by the door, one live rat by the back door and one live rat on top of flour shelf, rat trap in dry food storage area.”
We could stop right there. But the inspector didn’t, so we’ll match that work ethic.
If you didn’t see the rodent rub marks along the walls (the inspector did), you could count poop pellets (the inspector did): seven-plus soft rodent droppings under the three-compartment sink, two soft rodent droppings on soy sauce buckets under shelf, three-plus soft rodent droppings by preparation table with seasoning, one soft rodent dropping on handwash sink. As for the hard stuff, 20-plus hard rodent droppings on rice shelf, 30-plus hard ones on flour in back dry storage area.
This sounds like one of those Rodent vs. Roach battlegrounds, where size battles volume.
Here’s the volume of bugs: “Approximately four plus live roaches crawling on clean food trays, soup cups, lids, forks, and napkins. Approximately three plus live roaches crawling on clean containers; three plus live roach crawling on dry storage seasoning shelf; six plus live roaches crawling on shelf with rice steamer; two plus live roaches crawling under cutting board on top of reach in cooler; four plus live roaches crawling inside three compartment sink; and 10 plus live roaches under cardboard on three-compartment sink.”
That’s just the live roach platoon. Those who died in action: “One dead roach on the kitchen handwash sink; six under the kitchen handwash sink; three in front of three-compartment sink; five plus dead roaches under cardboard on three- compartment sink; two on prep table by cooked, fried rice; and three dead inside of refrigerator.” In dry storage, there were three on the rice dry storage shelf and more than five in the clean food bin.”
Look up and you’d see an “accumulation of dead roaches in light shield, control device, in dining area.”
A live roach crawling on an open container caused a Stop Sale to be dropped on the cooked rice in that open container. Rodent bite marks marred bags of rice and flour on a shelf.
Remember the rat trap in dry storage? Do that math and “Bags of flour and rice stored in dry storage area not covered” feels like more than a Basic violation, now doesn’t it?
The inspector came back on Friday. As you might expect, things weren’t much better.
“At time of call back inspection, approximately 20-plus soft rodent droppings, on food containers, on kitchen floor by cook line, at front counter with food condiments, on containers of dry storage shelf with flour, rice, sugar, and msg; on the shelf over hand wash sink.”
The inspector saw 20-plus dead roaches by three-compartment sink, under shelf by reach in freezer in the kitchen, by cases of sodas at front counter area; and on the shelf with flour, MSG, salt, rice, in back storage areas.
They reopened after the second callback inspection on Tuesday.
▪ Southern Long Gong Restaurant, 11920 SW Eighth St., West Miami-Dade — First, they had to throw out some rice…
“Observed dead roach inside uncooked rice.”
The inspector found Friday to be a bit buggy at Southern Long Gong with “approximately 12 live roaches in corners of shelves above food preparation tables; two live roaches inside plates on preparation table; three live roaches in holes of wall by hand sink in kitchen area; and one live roach in bottom gasket of reach in freezer by walk in cooler.”
And five dead roaches on the kitchen floor.
“Grease and food debris accumulated throughout food contact surfaces such as preparation tables, reach in cooler shelves and baskets, etc.”
That extends — or doesn’t extend, depending on your point of view — to handwashing. “Observed employee handling dirty utensils, then engaged in food preparation without washing hands.”
But, maybe that would’ve just let to damp hands in the food because “No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device or soap provided at handwash sink.”
Give Southern credit, though. They got their house in order for the callback inspection on Saturday.
▪ The Steakout, 123 NE 20th Ave., Deerfield Beach — A little Friday flying fowl — “Wild bird present inside establishment” — counted as an Intermediate violation, but eventually flew out an open door.
Other violations didn’t leave on their own, living or not.
“Fifty live flying insects in prep kitchen area around the equipment, appliances and food contact surfaces, as well as in store room near ice machine…”
Apparently, some old food gets thrown out, some clings to the cookware. “Accumulation of encrusted food debris on/around mixer head. Reach-in cooler shelves soiled with food debris.”
Also, Steakout got dinged for “build-up of food debris, dust or dirt on nonfood-contact surface — on exterior of cook line equipment: convection oven, deep fryers, open top range, toaster, toaster table shelf, refrigerated drawers.
In the walk-in cooler, there were “tubs of uncovered raw fish, brown sauce and white sauce.”
The Steakout was back on after Saturday’s re-inspection.
▪ Wingstop, 1452 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach — “Bread, and cookies, and raw chicken in kitchen area; not covered, with live, small flies on it.”
After the flies buzzed like the Royal Air Force defending Great Britain, the wings in “Wingstop” didn’t seem to necessarily mean chicken wings.
“Approximately 100 plus live, small flying insects in the kitchen flying over, and landing on open food; and around deep fryers, preparation area, and in dining area, while customers are eating.”
The inspector saw three apparently ineffective bug killing traps. They brought the insects to the food on the prep table, in the kitchen and in the dry storage areas.
Also, noted: soil residue in carrots, relish and a walk-in cooler food storage container. An employee cleaned the containers on the spot.
Wingstop failed a callback inspection Aug. 29 before passing on Friday.
▪ Yi-Wong Chinese Restaurant, 13760 SW Eighth St., West Miami-Dade — The roach count went “three live roaches in crevices of shelf in kitchen area, four live roaches in gasket of reach in cooler and two more live roaches in holes in preparation table by cooking area.”
Also, there was no date on the cooked pork and pasta, so it might’ve been fixed Sunday, it might’ve been fixed before the first day of school.
Food dirtied up the walk-in cooler’s wood shelves.
And, was there a wave of Tupperware top thefts? Another place with “containers with food, such as pasta and vegetables, in walk in cooler and freezer not covered.”
The cooked rice, supposed to be kept above 135 degrees, was cooled to 98.
They passed the Aug. 28 callback inspection.