Two-hundred rodent poops. Roaches in a microwave. Why these restaurants 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.

Before we get into the seven Miami-Dade and Broward restaurants that make up this week’s “Sick and Shut Down List”, here’s a bit of advice for restaurant owners.

If your a restaurant gives customers an open view of your kitchen, make sure your kitchen workers obey common-sense food safety guidelines. Such as, no wiping sweaty faces with bare hands, then putting those bare hands on food going on plates.

If your kitchen staff can’t manage that and a customer calls you out on this, admit the violation and correct it. Don’t try to tell the customer the rules are different in Florida.

What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspection reports. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We report without passion or prejudice, but with more than a soupçon of humor.

And we list in alphabetical order:

Baires Grill, 2210 Weston Rd., Weston — Let’s start with the flies. Not just the number, but check out where they land (and remember when flies land, they bring all kinds of bacteria they might leave behind in more than one way).

“Six at storage rack by walk-in cooler landing on paper towels, clean linens and clean aprons ...12 by prep area landing on clean pots ... three at dry storage landing on bags of flour and cans of corn ... seven by (three-compartment) sink landing on clean plates ... 15 at wait station landing on clean cups, glasses and plates ... three at front line counter landing on clean spoons and knives ... four at front bar landing on clean glasses and bar counter.”

Also, this was a Friday inspection. The inspector found marinara from 12 days earlier and cheese from the previous Friday. Stop Sales dropped on that tired food as well as on meat soup, grilled yellow squash, zucchini and eggplant cooked the previous day but not properly cooled overnight.

It didn’t even help Baires that the inspector combined two Intermediate violations into one. Usually, “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine” with “Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris at cookline” each is its own Intermediate violation.

Also, a Basic violation: “Old food stuck to clean vegetable slicer at storage rack by dish machine.”

Baire’s passed Saturday’s re-inspection.

Cayard’s Bakery, 12801 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami — At least the more than 200 rodent droppings were split evenly.

There were “100-plus rodent droppings on top of old baking trays located in baking room” and “100-plus rodent droppings on the floor under milk crates located in the bakery room.”

If the rodents hung out around the garbage bin, they’d have a feast from all the food tossed after the inspector started flinging Stop Sales for food kept in a cooler that didn’t work (inside temperature: 53 degrees. Food needs to be cooled to: 41 or below).

Tossed out were cooked fish, raw fish, cooked chicken filling, cooked liver, cooked beef filling, beef empanadas, cooked legume and cheese. The chicken filling wasn’t even covered in the cooler.

Next to this, that dead roach next to the prep table in the bakery prep area seems pretty minor, right?

General cleanliness seemed a problem throughout the rest of the inspection.

“Accumulation of food debris/grease on food-contact surface. Observed dough rolling machine, oven interior, mixer head and can opener soiled.”

“Grease accumulated on kitchen floor and/or under cooking equipment.” “Hood doiled with accumulated grease, dust or debris.”

Cayard got it together in time for Friday’s re-inspection.

Eat Greek Express, 3530 Biscayne Blvd., Miami — Why is it a violation to store containers of food directly on the floor?

“Approximately eight live roaches inside a box of potatoes stored that on the floor by the three-compartment sink.”

Also, there were “three more live roaches on the food shelf across from the three-compartment sink where Pita breads are stored.”

Besides that box of potatoes, there were “cases of water, a bag of onions and containers of oil stored on the floor throughout the kitchen area.”

No paper towels were at the handwashing sink. Somebody brought over some paper towels. They should have left a few behind to clean the reach-in coolers.

“Interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue. Observed at all reach-in coolers, interiors are soiled.”

They got a time extension to deal with their problems after Friday’s re-inspection.

Feijao Com Arroz Brazilian House, 559 E. Sample Rd., Pompano Beach — You’ll find their inspections under “Feijao Con Arroz Restaurant.” And the May 28 inspection did to this Brazilian restaurant what Germany did to Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semifinal.

Of the 16 live roaches, 12 were under prep tables. Of the flies spotted, one was landing on a glass at the bar, others were “landing on clean container and prep table.”

Flan and pasta, cooked the previous night, got tossed for still being too warm. Another Stop Sale crashed down on a dented can of mashed potatoes.

No way to dry your hands and the handwashing sink by the meat roasting station. Hope none of that water got flung onto the meat when people flapped their hands to get them dry.

“Employee cutting fruit for buffet with bare hands.”

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

“Flour containers soiled in rear prep area by walk-in cooler.”

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J’s Kitchen, 196 N. Federal Hwy., Deerfield Beach — You can look at the roach situation two ways. Yes, there were 12 live roaches, eight of which were on the floor behind the chest freezer next to the rice cooker and only one of which was in the microwave.

But, hey, the dead outnumbered the moving by an overwhelming margin, just on the more than 100 dead roaches on the floor behind and around the chest freezer next to the rice cooker. That’s not even counting the 19 dead roaches inside the chest freezer. Or the one dead roach inside the microwave, undoubtedly radiated until he was fried, died and laid on his side.

“Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris and dead roaches.” No kidding.

“Roach excrement and/or droppings present fan on chest freezer next to rice cooker.”

Another no-no — no soap, no hand towels at the handwashing sink until the inspector pointed it out.

“In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment at cookline.” Go look between pieces of equipment in your kitchen and think of this violation.

Japan Inn, 1798 Market St., Weston — Once again, it’s not where the flies fly. It’s where they land.

“Five landing on cutting boards and cleaned woks at cookline ... nine at sushi counter landing on prep table and cleaned plates ... five by dish machine landing on clean glasses...eight at bar landing on clean containers and glasses.”

There’s diversity in the reason the inspector fired Stop Sales. Dented or rusted 6-pound cans of ketchup. Sushi rice at the sushi counter not cooled enough. Cooked rice from the night before still not cooled because the deep pans were stacked atop each other in the walk-in.

“Equipment drain line draining into handwash sink.”

“Encrusted material on can opener blade.”

Japan II was back in business after Friday’s re-inspection.

Rincon Progreseno, 1169 NW 36th St., Miami — A fly landed on a cutting board during a ham slicing. The slicing stopped, the ham went in the trash and the cutting board went into the three-compartment sink.

The rest of the inspection report does not reflect the same stringent attention to detail.

“Vegetable chopper/dicer/shredder/peeler soiled with old food debris.” “Interior of refrigerator soiled with accumulation of food residue.” “Cutting board(s) stained/soiled.”

“Wall soiled with accumulated grease, food debris, and/or dust. Throughout the establishment.” “Wall soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area.”

“In-use tongs stored on equipment door handle between uses.”

And we haven’t even discussed the five flies near the orange juice squeezer by a steam table. Or the kitchen handwashing sink being used as storage for two skillets and sans soap, anyway. In the men’s and women’s restrooms used by customers and workers alike, there was no way to dry hands.

The inspector bombed the Rincon Progreseno with Stop Sales for food suffering from temperature abuse: cooked rice, cooked beef, cooked chicken, ground pork, beef, chorizo pork, sausage, ham, cheese and cream cheese. All had been in the reach-in cooler overnight, which might’ve helped had the temperature in the cooler been something colder than 54 to 58 degrees.

Come Thursday’s re-inspection, there was still “black debris on the walls in the dishwashing area,” and a live roach moseying across the front counter. Also, “still observed interior of chest freezer in the dry storage area has exposed insulation.”

Friday’s re-re-inspection got the place back open.

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.