Food

Chipotle, IHOP and a restaurant with 74 pieces of rodent poop failed inspection

A statewide look at Florida’s top restaurant violations for 2017-18

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 2017-18 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 2017-18 in Florida restaurant kitchens.

Two chains, roaches and flies highlight this week’s Sick and Shut Down List of South Florida restaurants that got closed by inspectors, usually for at least a day.

What follows comes directly from the state’s 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 dish of humor.

And we go in alphabetical order:

Bojos Seafood Kitchen, 731 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd., Pompano Beach — Seems like Bojos needed to take advantage of BOGOs on Raid.

“Observed one live roach on the toaster shelf at cookline, three live at the prep shelf area, one live under dish machine and one live on wall above dish machine. Observed approximately 10 dead under equipment on dish shelf, six dead under dry storage shelve and five dead under dish machine.”

Other than the living violations, Bojos just looked like it needed to take a little time to get down with some sanitized cloths.

“Grease under cook line, grease/debris under ice machine at back door and soil residue under shelving.” “Build-up of grease/dust/debris on hood filters.”

On Tuesday’s comeback inspection, the inspector saw “one live roach next to the walk-in cooler at mop storage, one live roach near floor drain next to prep table. Two dead roaches under dish machine and one dead next to walk-in cooler.”

Three turned out to be the magic number for Bojos, which passed Wednesday’s re-re-inspection.

Chipotle, 1000 S. State Rd. 7, Wellington — With this chain’s food safety history, we’re going to switch up and talk about the food foul-ups before we get to the living and moving violations.

We’re not talking about “Old food stuck to clean dishware/utensils. On clean pans on clean dish storage rack,” although we could be.

The leftover beef that should have been at 165 had to be reheated, having cooled to 145 degrees. As far as food that needed to be cooled to 41 degrees, some of the salad lettuce was at 59, some salad lettuce was at 62 degrees and the cheese was at 48 degrees. The inspector said “at this rate of cooling, it will not reach 41 or colder within four hours” but didn’t drop a Stop Sale on it.

“Handwash sink not accessible for employee use due to being blocked by garbage can.”

Now, to the living problems: lots of flies. And look where they landed.

“Ten on wooden shelf next to self-serve soda station in dining room, two on the wall in dining room, 15 on the back of the menu facing the cookline. Three on the wall next to the cookline, three on bag in soda box next to ice machine, two on napkin bag on shelf near three-compartment sink, two flying around near clean pans on storage shelf, two flying around by mop sink. Several flying around at front counter and cook line.”

The inspector did Chipotle a favor and came back later Tuesday for a re-inspection, which the restaurant passed.

El Caraibeno, 818 Federal Hwy., Boynton Beach — Bugs and birds created problems here. Only one of them was cooked.

There were 20 dead roaches between the wall and the reach-in freezer at the prep station, eight live ones on a broken wall underneath the prep station’s sink, five live and six dead roaches underneath the three-compartment sink.

The hot holding turkey, which needed to be at 135 degrees to keep from being a bacteria bird, was at 111 degrees. Tossed.

“Hole in or other damage to wall behind prep sink and underneath handwashing sink at bathroom” as well as a leaky pipe on the handwashing sink.

This was Tuesday. When the inspector came back Wednesday, there were “three live roaches underneath prep sink and two live roaches on the wall behind prep table.”

Like Bojos, it took three tries before El Caraibeno got the OK from the inspector.

Eric’s Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant, 625 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach — “Tripe in container thawing at room temperature.”

Well, that’s not good for the stomach.

“Observed four live roaches under water heater area. Observed three live roaches in glue trap next to microwave oven. Observed two dead behind grill, two on side of reach in cooler and approximately eight dead at loose wall attachment behind water heater area.”

So with that, you don’t want to see “cases of produce, open plastic crate of cilantro and bag of onions on kitchen floor.”

As handwashing violations go, “employee handled money and then scooped ice with clean scoop at ice bin in dining room without washing hands” wasn’t the worst, but you don’t want to start bad habits.

Eric’s passed the Tuesday re-inspection.

IHOP, 2112, N. Flamingo Rd., Pompano Beach — Not much was wrong here, aside from the Royal Air Force of Flies invading the pancake house.

“About 15 flying around and landing on clean and dirty plates in the ware washing area. About 10 landing on the bread wrappers on the bread rack, near the ice machine. About 10 flying around and landing on bagged trash held near back exit door. About five flying around at the wait station. About four flying around the trash cans at the cook line.”

The reach-in cooler gaskets were dirty and torn (two separate violations).

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This IHOP was back open after Friday’s re-inspection.

Vida, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach — Roaches and mold will get you an unwanted night off, as the folks at Vida can tell you.

“Observed approximately 8 live roaches under shelves in dishwasher room.”

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

Also, the reach-in cooler gaskets were torn up and the cutting board had too much use to get restaurant clean.

Vida passed the re-inspection.

Wingloon Chinese Takeout, 3520 N. Andrews Ave., Oakland Park — This can be found on the DBPR site under “Wing Loon Chinese Food Takeout.” Considering last week’s inspections, Wingloon might not want you to have that knowledge.

Wednesday’s inspection is lowlighted by vermin running in some places bothersome to customers and employees alike: “approximately 20 fresh rodent droppings found in the employee restroom, approximately 30 fresh rodent droppings found in the dry storage room, eight fresh rodent droppings found in prep area next to walk in cooler, six dry rodent droppings found in the food prep area underneath the rice cooker and approximately 10 fresh rodent droppings found on the floor on the cookline.”

You hate to see that many rodents bustling about combined with this violation: “container with food items stored on kitchen and walk in cooler floor...Observed uncovered containers with food items stored stored in walk-in cooler.”

Also, the flies in the house, er, the kitchen...“Observed four live flying insects landing on food preparation table in kitchen, approximately eight live flying insects on wall in dishwashing area and three live flying insects nesting on top of microwave at cook line.”

You don’t often see inspections with the verb, “nesting.” Wonderful in the wild, creepy in the kitchen.

“Cooked chicken measured at 89 degrees left at room temperature to cool.” There’s at least two basic food safety violations in that sentence. Then again, Wingloon also thawed fish in standing water in the three-compartment sink. The “thawing in standing water” (fine for home cooking in a rush, unacceptable in a restaurant) and “three-compartment sink” (supposed to be for cookware washing and sanitizing) are problematic.

When the inspector returned for the Thursday try-again, “six fresh rodent droppings found on top of hot water heater.” Fail.

Friday’s re-inspection pass got Wingloon back open for the weekend Netflix-and-chills.

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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