Restaurant News & Reviews

Poop in a rice bowl. Flies in Dunkin and Waffle House. Restaurants that inspectors closed

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.

You know it won’t be a boring roll call of the Sick and Shut Down List of Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe restaurants when one of the state inspection reports contains this line:

“Employee at front counter, washed hands with no soap. Employee refused to wash hands ....”

So, let’s begin this listing of restaurants shut down for at least the day by state inspectors. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We present it without passion or prejudice, but with two scoops of humor.

And we go in alphabetical order:

Dunkin Donuts, 95 NW 167th St., North Miami Beach — Here’s our recalcitrant food service employee.

“Employee handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands. Employee rubbing nose, and then engaged in food preparation. Employee at front counter, handling cash and credit card transactions and serving food.

“Employee at front counter, washed hands with no soap. Employee refused to wash hands. Employee then washed hands.”

This is very disappointing and not just because sometimes management brings in a few dozen Dunkin’ on Thursday mornings. (Can’t decide if they’re trying to make us fat and happy or fat and slow, so when the time comes to eat us, we can’t get away.)

As unsettling as the hand-washing reluctance might be, is it as bad as this? “Approximately 12+ live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area. Sitting on, and flying on all donuts, bagels, muffins, and croissants in all three holding stations, at front counter; and at back storage area.”

The inspector dropped Stop Sales on all those yummy fly runways.

Once again, we advise, bring your own liquids. And ask to see the inside of the ice machine. “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

The ice machine didn’t monopolize the mold-like substances. “Build-up of mold-like substance on nonfood-contact surface. On ice cream cooler, and on sugar dispensing unit, at front counter.”

This all happened on Wednesday. It was time to make the donuts again after Thursday’s re-inspection.

Eat Greek Express, 3530 Biscayne Blvd., Miami — Let’s talk about bad combinations of violations. Such as, there was no soap at the handwash sink in the restroom. And the only way for the public to get to the restroom was to go through a food preparation, ware washing, or food storage area.

As far as the kitchen employees’ handwash sink, it had been “removed from food preparation/dishwashing area.”

The inspector wrote the handwash sink “must be reinstalled in the same location where removed In the kitchen. The only other hand-wash sink is located in the restroom. Establishment is using the mopsink to perform handwashing.”

And this: “No three-compartment sink is provided for warewashing. Not connected to plumbing. Establishment is using the mopsink to wash utensils. The establishment has reusable utensils that must be washed, rinsed, and sanitized. The account does not have a three compartment sink that is connected to plumbing or a commercial dishwasher to wash, rinse, and sanitize equipment or utensils.”

Nobody bothered to cover the meatballs in the reach-in freezer.

Eat Greek flunked the callback inspection on Wednesday, but passed it on Thursday.

Las Brisas Café, 18190 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach — Another restaurant battlefield in the Rodents vs. Roaches conflict.

First, the rodents: “Observed approximately 15-plus rodent droppings, unable to determine if they are fresh or dry. Located by the dry storage in between the wall and reach-in cooler.”

And, here come the roaches, led by the two live ones seen in the plastic container with onion... ”Observed approximately three live roaches under reach-in cooler; approximately 20-plus live roaches behind the reach-in cooler by the three-compartment sink; approximately four live roaches around the mop sink...approximately two live roaches inside reach in cooler; approximately four lives roaches under the preparation table.”

Some of the roaches were lost in the assault. Three dead roaches were seen next to the three-compartment sink and five all-around the kitchen sink.

Think about all the people who grab a door handle and the various levels of cleanliness of their hands. With that in your head, read “In-use tongs stored on equipment door handle between uses.”

Also, the cooked chicken and cooked rice made there more than 24 hours before weren’t date-marked, so who knows how long it’s been in that reach-in cooler with the “accumulation of food residue” soiling the reach-in?

Raw beef and chicken in a holding unit weren’t covered. Because, hey, it’s not like you can find containers that’ll keep the inspector partially happy in the $1 aisle at fresco y mas.

On the Saturday comeback, they didn’t make it, partially because chicken, beef and cooked rice more than a day before weren’t marked. Way to learn, people.

Lings Garden, 12749 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami — The inspector stopped by on Friday. The mice or rats had been there before.

“Observed 20-plus dry droppings on the floor of dry storage area and 20-plus dry droppings on rolling cart trays, located in dry storage area. Observed 10-plus dry droppings in women’s bathroom.”

There was no rodent No. 2 in the men’s restroom. There also were no paper towels or hand-drying machine at the sink.

Back in the kitchen, “Employee washed hands with no soap. Observed employee in kitchen area.”

The list of the locations the inspector described as “soiled” included the reach-in cooler interior, microwave interior and the oven interior. And there was an “accumulation of food debris/grease on food-contact surface,” meaning the walk-in cooler shelves.

Speaking of the walk-in cooler, the egg rolls, barbecue ribs, cooked chicken and shrimp all were uncovered.

Lutong Pinoy Filipino Cuisine, 17048 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach — Wikipedia says Filipino cuisine is

“composed of the cuisines of 144 distinct ethno-linguistic groups found throughout the Philippine archipelago.”

Don’t think any of those 144 include roaches as a garnish. So, the inspector shouldn’t have expected, “approximately 12 live roaches inside old reach-in cooler used as a preparation table in front the three-compartment sink; approximately four live roaches inside the reach-in cooler gasket by cooking equipments; five live roaches at dry storage area by back door; four live roaches inside the working reach cooler with food exposed.”

Wait…”old reach-in cooler used as a preparation table…?” How is that not a violation?

And because they’re not official parts of the dishes, with roaches in the reach-in cooler and food not covered in the reach-in cooler, Stop Sales got dropped on cooked pork, raw pork, cooked rice and cooked eggplant.

One water, bottled, no ice, please: “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

The inspector also saw pork thawing at room temperature. That’s the kind of thing that winds up in sauce, winds up inside your kid and winds up in the kid’s barf.

Is it really this hard to find industrial grade Tilex? “Wall soiled with accumulated grease, food debris, and/or dust. Around the kitchen. Wall soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area.”

They were back open by end of the day Thursday.

Mr. Fish Peruvian Kitchen & Market, 1605 N. State Rd. 7, Margate — Mr. Fish got yanked out of the water by bugs.

A box with utensils for take out orders had two live roaches and the reach-in cooler on the cookline had four moving. A sugar container had a live one. The inspector saw one live roach walking on the door across from the bathroom and one dead one hanging there. Seven live ones scooted on the molding in the employee bathroom. Another two live ones were on the floor near the walk-in coolers. Three live ones hung out near the reach-in cooler gasket on cook line.

To speak of the dead roaches, “two dead on shelf in front counter; two dead under shelf where plates are stored; three dead as you walk into the kitchen; one dead on lid on food container in shelf in prep area; one dead on cutting board on prep area; one dead in side walk-in cooler; two dead on prep table; four dead near the dry storage shelf; and two dead near sink across from the bathroom.”

On Wednesday’s callback, they failed to get reopened, partially because the inspector saw “two live roaches on door across from the bathroom. Two live roaches inside oven in cook line, two live roaches on wall in prep area. Two live ones on the wall going into the kitchen. Two dead on shelf in front cook line. Two dead on door in front of bathroom. Three dead (near) fryer.”

Friday’s callback didn’t go any better after the inspector saw four live roaches in the cook line oven and two live ones on the back wall of the prep area.

Mr. Fish finally got back in the water on Saturday.

Ruchi Indian Restaurant, 17085 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines — Ruchi also contributing to a very fly heavy Sick and Shut Down List.

“Observed approximately 20 flying around in dry storage area and also landing on dry storage containers. The dry storage room is a separate room from the kitchen.”

But, in the kitchen, the inspector saw a couple flies in the dishwashing area and, more worrisome, eight landing on boxes of uncooked Idaho potatoes. Also spotted were six flies in front of the walk-in.

Also in the back, away from eyes of customers, “Employee handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands. Observed employee cleaning dirty pans then handling clean trays of dishes.”

The handwashing sink at the dishwasher was “ inaccessible as the sink is detached from the wall. Observed sink falling down.”

“Cloth used as a food-contact surface. Observed soiled towel used as food contact surface with naan dough and cloth napkins used to dry plates after washing, rinsing, sanitizing.”

“In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment. Observed four knives stored between wall and prep table.”

And we’re sure those cracks are pristine. You can find cooking utensil holders at Family Dollar. No excuse for this.

Out at the bar area, the handwashing sink lacked soap or anything that would dry damp hands.

On the buffet, the salads were too warm, but “Operator was advised to place salads on ice at the buffet station. Operator did not put ice.”

Sabores Brasil, 4831 N. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach — What Sabores didn’t give in volume of citations (23, a lot, but not egregious) they gave in quality of errors (12 High Priority).

There was “one fresh rodent dropping in dry storage area on the floor next to the mayonnaise. Six fresh on the corner shelf in dry storage.”

The roaches must have sent scouts. No live ones found, one dead one on a shelf above the prep table and another dead one under the prep sink.

In the air, however, there were “approximately 10 live flies in the dry storage area, two landing on flour bag. Two live flies landing on clean utensils in the prep area. Two live flies by the walk-in cooler. One live fly by the handwashing sink. Five live flies on wall on the cookline. Two live in the bar area.”

Inspectors have to shake their heads watching sequences like this: “Employee began working with food, handling clean equipment or utensils, or touching unwrapped single-service items without first washing hands, employee washed parsley, then touched face and drank from open beverage container then started cutting parsley and put on gloves without washing hands.”

They couldn’t seem to keep food warm enough, either. Cochinas and sausage got trashed from the buffet after the manager couldn’t get them up to safe temperature. A Stop Sale got dropped on the rice and beans for the same reason.

Speaking of the buffet, there was no sneeze guard keeping people from adding nose dressing to ham, cheese, eggs, sausage or the breads.

They got closed Wednesday. They got back open Monday.

Sushi Express, 17044 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach — Sushi Express got a hint and a half for their sushi grass with a Warning Issued after a Thursday inspection. Did they think the inspector would get lost on the way back Friday for the follow-up inspection?

Instead, the inspector got there and saw, “Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Observed approximately four dry dropping inside of wood sushi rice mixing bowl.”

The rodents might have been trying to mark their territory against the approaching roach masses. The inspector saw 20 live roaches scurrying on and under the kitchen prep table. There was one live roach and 50 pieces of roach excrement between the wall and shelf next to the ice machine and above kitchen prep table. Two live roaches hung out over a bag of flour and six roach corpses in various places on the kitchen floor.

Perhaps the flies were taken care of by “fly sticky tape hanging over food/food preparation area/food-contact equipment.”

Also, the broken walk-in cooler caused the inspector to start dropping Stop Sales: 12 egg rolls, 19 pork rolls, raw chicken, tilapia, shrimp, tuna steak, egg roll, salmon, salmon sushi roll and cut lettuce all got junked.

Cardboard lined food-contact shelves at the front counter prep table.

“Bowl or other container with no handle used to dispense food.”

Hope that’s not the bowl that had the doo-doo.

They got the hint for Saturday’s callback inspection.

Waffle House, 100270 Overseas Highway, Key Largo — You know who loves The House? We mean, other than people who forgot to eat dinner and Jonesboro, Arkansas, restaurant critics? Deion Sanders. Prime Time loves him some Waffle House. So does Deion Sanders Jr.

You know who else loves The House, at least in Key Largo? Flies.

“Observed approximately 20-plus live flies near container of soiled wet wiping cloths by ware washing area, manager removed container of soiled wiping cloths outside. Observed approximately 10 live flies in dry storage area. Observed approximately five live flies near the cook line reach-in cooler. Observed approximately three to four live flies near entrance to kitchen by ware washing area.”

“Observed food preparation employee place raw bacon on flat grill, crack raw shell eggs changed gloves and began buttering toast without washing hands.”

The inspector also wasn’t happy that food manager Bianca wasn’t able to show her food manager certification. “At the time of the inspection, there were no other certified food manager present on site; observed six employees engage in food preparation. No proof of required state approved employee training provided for any employees.”

Coffee is popular among House customers. “Old food stuck to clean coffee cups near coffee station.”

So, maybe you don’t want to drink the coffee. What about something cold? Make sure to ask for no ice. “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

The House got back open on Saturday.

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