Restaurant News & Reviews

A rodent fell from above while this restaurant was inspected. Plus, flies on donuts

Five restaurants from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, each with their special problems with cleanliness and food safety, comprise this week’s Sick and Shut Down List.

What follows comes straight from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspections. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a side order of humor.

And we go in alphabetical order:

Dunkin’ Donuts, 5641 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach — As chains go, what Presidente Supermarket is to our Gross Grocers list, Dunkin’ Donuts is to the Sick and Shut Down List. Their stores pop up here more than superheroes on Netflix.

The highlight of Thursday’s inspection: “Food contaminated by small flying insects: three on chocolate bling frosted donuts in display case ... one on glazed donut in display case...fiive on coffee donuts.”

Obviously, the inspector dropped Stop Sales on all that yeast infected by insect contact.

The backroom “ceiling/ceiling tiles/vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance.”

Dunkin’ passed a re-inspection later Thursday. Monday, Dunkin’ Brands Senior Director for Global Public Relations Michelle King e-mailed a statement to The Herald:

“We take the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s assessment of the franchised Dunkin’ restaurant in West Palm Beach very seriously. The franchisee who owns and operates the location has corrected all of the issues addressed during the inspection. We also immediately sent one of our certified operations managers to meet with the franchisee, inspect the store, and ensure that all appropriate Dunkin’ food safety guidelines are being followed.”

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Le Berger Restaurant, 1216 S. Dixie Hwy., Lake Worth — The inspector almost seemed apologetic about noting the live rodent seen, calling it “One small rodent under prep table.”

Up in the prep area, the inspector saw “five live roaches in prep area, ran out of empty box when an employee moved it.”

That rodent demonstrates part of why it’s a violation to store food directly on the floor, as Le Berger did a box of plantains.

The inspector also noted “build-up of grease on nonfood-contact surface, under prep tables and ovens, unable to see floor.”

Los Frijolitos, 3061 NW South River Dr., Miami — Then, there’s that moment in the inspection when you reach for an adult beverages because you know your place has failed and will be closed the rest of the day while you’re on cleanup duty.

“Observed a rodent fall through small hole in ceiling located near fire suppression system at hood filter system at kitchen area, then hide underneath cookline equipment.”

There doesn’t need to be much else. But there is.

“Handwash sink removed from food preparation/dishwashing area. Must be reinstalled in the same location where removed.” Also, “wooden board covering handwash sink located next to three compartment sink behind front counter.”

“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

And this: “Clean utensils stored between equipment and wall ... knives stored between the cracks of the wall and three-compartment sink.”

Los Tres Golpes Restaurant, 320 NE 38th St., Oakland Park — Another battlefield for that eternal conflict: Roaches vs. Rodents.

The fur-and-tail side seemed to have the edge in this theater during Friday’s inspection. The bugs could muster only “one live roach on can opener at food preparation table and two live roaches in dry storage area underneath food storage shelf.”

Meanwhile, the rodents marked their territory with seven fresh rodent droppings found in kitchen underneath three-compartment sink, approximately 15 fresh rodent droppings found in dry storage area and three fresh rodent droppings found underneath flat top grill on cookline.”

Clearly, the handwashing sink was important to Los Tres Golpes as storage for a container with wiping cloths. But for washing hands, well, it was blocked by a garbage can and lacked any way to dry hands.

Peninsula Retail, 3301 NE 183rd St., Aventura — Friday’s inspection found “food-contact surfaces not sanitized after cleaning, before use.”

And that’s an even bigger problem when there’s “no dish washing machine nor three-compartment sink. As per employee, dishwasher machine was removed to be repaired ... establishment has no means of washing, rinsing and sanitizing.”

The reach-in cooler would be used as a hand warmer up north. It’s supposed to keep food under 41 degrees, but it’s internal temperature was 67 degrees.

Stomach’s on alert: raw chicken was being thawed on the counter at room temperature.

The oven’s interior is covered with a “heavy accumulation of black substance/grease/food debris,” similar to the interior of the reach-in cooler (which doesn’t work anyway) being “soiled with accumulation of food residue.”

As they used to say in the restaurant business, “You got time to lean, you got time to clean.”

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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