Restaurant News & Reviews

Roaches at an Outback (again). Dogs in Berries. Both among restaurants shut down

A statewide look at Florida’s top restaurant violations for 2016-17

Restaurant inspections ensure food retail establishments are in compliance with state sanitation and food safety procedures. Here are the top ten violations inspectors found between 2016-17 in Florida restaurant kitchens.
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Restaurant inspections ensure food retail establishments are in compliance with state sanitation and food safety procedures. Here are the top ten violations inspectors found between 2016-17 in Florida restaurant kitchens.

Familiarity reigns this week on the list of South Florida restaurants that made the Sick and Shut Down List after state inspections.

There’s a national chain back for a second consecutive week and a Miami-Dade restaurant back for at least the third time. Although this is the first time we’ve had a place dinged for dogs. Not hot dogs. Actual dogs. Not serving them as a dish, just being in the establishment with patrons.

This list is compiled from the state inspections of local restaurants. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly the inspector obeys the letter of the law. We present this without passion or prejudice, but with more than a soupcon of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Bagel Cove Restaurant & Deli, 19003 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura — Everybody loves a good bagel. Even rodents.

Maybe that’s why the inspector saw, “approximately five rodent soft droppings on the dry floor under water heater in kitchen area in front of the three-compartment sink” and “approximately six rodent droppings inside establishment under three-compartment sink next to back door area. We are unable to determined if they are fresh because floor area is wet. Observed approximately 15 rodent droppings on the floor in an outside storage area that has walls and a screened section. Floor is wet, so it is undetermined if they are fresh or not.”

And you have to wonder what the flies were planning: “Observed approximately eight live flies under the dishwasher machine.”

When the inspector got to the cooler, the Stop Sales started dropping like new Netflix shows. Tossed for not being cool enough after a day were gravy, salmon salad, cream cheese, pasta, cooked turkey, green beans and cole slaw.

Also, the cooked beef was uncovered in the walk-in cooler.

We still can’t figure out how “food-contact surfaces not sanitized after cleaning, before use” isn’t a High Priority violation. But Bagel Cove had that problem.

On the Tuesday re-inspection, the inspector fired Stop Sales and shot down cooked potatoes, tuna salad, corned beef and whitefish.

Berries Coconut Grove, 2884 SW 27th Ave, Miami — You’ve heard of “52 Pickup?” Tuesday’s inspection at Berries was “53 Shut Down.”

There had to be some dark Berries without any sweetness after being covered in 53 violations, seven of them High Priority and 16 of them Intermediate.

Where to start? Here: “sewage/wastewater backing up through floor drains. Observed in front counter bar area from hand wash sink, also in kitchen prep area from hand wash sink. Observed dirt and debris in the draining blocking the plumbing area.” Berries called the plumber to take care of that.

Not taken care of immediately, however, were the “approximately 20 small flies in the preparation area by the walk-in cooler. Observed by the wall and by the floor next to prepping areas where they make sauces and prep the raw meats.”

Speaking of the food, the inspector went Dresden with the Stop Sales. Tossed out were two trays of beef lasagna; 2 pounds of white beans; 10 pounds of cooked pork; 3 pounds of noodle soup; 1 pound of Marinara sauce; 5 pounds of chicken sausage; one container of milk; two 10-pound cases of raw chicken; 2 pounds of cut tomatoes; 2 pounds of tomato sauce; raw beef; and 5 pounds of pre-cooked pork.

Blame the walk-in cooler for this destruction — “walk-in cooler not maintained in good repair. Do not store potentially hazardous food in this unit until the unit is repaired.” But some things come down to human error.

As for the ham in the walk-in cooler and the salad dressing in kitchen reach-in cooler, they were both open. But for how long? They didn’t have dates.

You wouldn’t feed that to dogs, which is relevant seeing as how the inspector found unauthorized pooches in the restaurant.

“Observed inside the restaurant with the curtain closed. Observed multiple signs that said dogs are welcome without local government permits. During inspection we observed pet dogs inside the the restaurant.”

And we don’t know how employees put up with this: “Observed in kitchen no door for employee restroom.”

After the Wednesday callback inspection, Berries extended time to deal with its problems.

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El Gran Inka, 3155 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach — This place is becoming as regular a part of our restaurant inspection stories as headlines and pop culture references. Shut down for roaches in August, over 70 roaches spotted there in October 2017 and now this tour de force five-inspection epic that just missed last week’s report.

On Sept. 6, the inspector noted, “Employee washing dishes, handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands.”

A dozen eggs kept at room temperature — were they trying to hatch them? — got crushed by a Stop Sale order.

And, of course, the roaches, which are to El Gran Inka what the Road Runner (Accelerati Incredibulis) is to The Coyote (Carnivorus Vulgaris): Over 30 live roaches and 42 dead ones all around the kitchen. On walls, in deep fryers, in and on top of reach-in freezers.

By the way, bring your own bottle of water to drink. If they hassle you about it, point out that the inspector saw an “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance on/around soda dispensing nozzles” and an “ Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

There wasn’t just an “accumulation of debris” outside the warewashing machine, but inside the machine along with some lime scale.

So, the inspector comes back on Sept. 7 and sees over 25 dead and 25 living roaches in the kitchen, among other problems having to with dirty walls and a tremendous grease caked on shelves, a kitchen table top and part of a fryer (OK, to be fair, isn’t that supposed to have grease?).

The inspector took the weekend off. Then he dove back into El Gran Inka on Monday, Sept. 10. The dead and live roach count was down to about 10 for each. The cleanliness issues remained. Still closed.

Sept. 11: the roaches gathered for one last uprising, numbering more than 14 live and 23 dead. Still closed.

Wednesday: No violations observed. Either El Gran got clean or the place just wore the inspector down.

Outback Steakhouse, 3161 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach — No, regular readers, you’re not flashing back from eating old ham. There’s an Outback on the report for the second straight week. This is the kind of thing that can cause Craig or Kristin from Corporate to come off Outback Olympus and, suddenly, it’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God in that regional office.

If that does happen, they should bring an exterminator.

One live and three dead roaches behind the reach-in cooler in the prep area. Five dead and more than 10 live roaches on the floor in dry storage areas. Four dead and more than three live roaches under the prep table and by the three-compartment sink. More than two live ones crawling on the wall by the mop sink. Four dead roaches at the bar (on their back or face down?), two dead in the high chair closet and two dead by the ice machine.

The fly count exceeded seven in the kitchen, food prep and food storage areas.

Some people embrace chain restaurant dining on the theory there’s a corporate standard and you don’t find things such as “Stored ribs, chicken, stuffed shrimp, brownies, and cheese not covered in walk-in cooler” or “Soil residue in ice cream, brownies, and tortilla storage containers.”

Also: “Shelf under preparation table soiled with food debris. Accumulation of food debris/soil residue on handwash sink. Food debris/dust/grease/soil residue on exterior of microwave. Buildup of food debris/soil residue on equipment door handles.”

Outback came from down under the poor inspection closure on Wednesday.

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Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, 809 S. University Dr., Plantation — Which is worse? Moving roaches or standing water?

Smokey had both. The inspector saw two live roaches on a wall in food prep area, another two live ones under the stove and a live roach on a wall in one of the dry storage rooms.

“Observed floor in kitchen, prep area and dishwashing area covered with standing water.”

Also, the inspector clearly got annoyed with poor food indexing: “Operator is not properly tracking/marking the number of days ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food prepared onsite was held at refrigeration temperatures prior to freezing in order to properly date mark the food when it is thawed and held at refrigeration temperatures again.”

Cooked brisket, pork ribs and chicken wings from more than 24 hours before weren’t marked. They didn’t get Stop Sales, but a dented can of vegetable beans did.

“Observed AC vents , ceiling tiles and ceiling lights throughout establishment soiled with accumulated of dust and mold-like substance.”

This was Wednesday. They were fine by Thursday.