Flies and roaches — dead and alive — close restaurants, including 2 stores from 1 chain

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.

The lesson from the restaurant inspection fails that comprise this week’s “Sick and Shut Down List” could’ve come from Tony Soprano: You can’t just kill the flies or roaches. You must also clean up the bodies.

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

And we go in alphabetical order:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill, 2501 N. University Dr., Coral Springs — It’s only a Basic violation, but “objectionable odor throughout establishment” usually means inspection fail. Tough to bounce back from offending the inspector’s senses two steps inside the door.

When the inspector dropped by Tuesday, there were “more than twenty flies at the service area, landing on oil and vinegar bottles and shelves. The manager discarded the bottles. Observed five flies on the drain board of the beer nozzles.”

Also drawing a demerit was “More than 10 flies on a trap near the bread station.”

Of the three dead roaches, one lay at the office’s entrance. Inspector’s tend to notice that.

“Reach-in cooler by bar with broken glass and food buildup.” “Standing water by drainage next to reach-in freezer.” “Leakage from pipe under the prep sink on cookline.”

Customers could cry “Give us Carrabba’s” again on Wednesday.

El Don Pepe Restaurant, 9090 NW South River Dr., Medley — The good news: El Don Pepe kills roaches. The bad news: You can tell by the 116 dead roaches vs. seven live ones the inspector spotted.

The main roach cemeteries seemed to be on the floor behind the front counter (50) and the floor under a kitchen storage shelf (35). As for the living, one was next to the microwave oven, three were on the kitchen floor and three were behind the front counter (on the floor, not working it).

“Croquettes and empanadas stored in reach-in freezer with no cover.” “Interior of oven has heavy accumulation of black substance/grease/food debris.” “Shelf under preparation table soiled with food debris.”

On Wednesday’s re-inspection, the inspector saw six roaches shuffling around the stainless steel kitchen cooler’s gasket, one crawling on the front counter floor and one running around the kitchen floor. Another day closed.

El Don got it together Thursday to pass re-inspection.

Golden Corral, 9045 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines — A fly zapper might’ve kept them slinging mac and cheese, baked potatoes and various forms of beef.

The inspector saw “8 live flies flying around the cold choice station, around cut lettuce and cut melons. Five live small flies on wall next to the ice machine. Two live small flies flying around the dining room. Ten live small flies flying around the handwash sink in the service station. Four live small flies in the dessert station. Four live small flies in the kitchen area flying around the garbage cans.”

No way (other than your shirt or pants) to dry hands at the handwashing sink in the dishwashing area. Otherwise, there seemed to be the kind of general junkiness and filth you expect to bring wrath from some displeased corporate boss.

“Dumpster overflowing garbage.” “Storage area not maintained clean and organized. Card board boxes everywhere inside dumpster area.” “Ceiling/ceiling tiles/vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance in dishwashing area, back of the house walkway to coolers.”

This Golden Corral passed re-inspection on Wednesday.

Golden Corral, 10100 Fox Trail Rd. S, Royal Palm Beach — Bad day at the chain buffet when two places have too much yuck to stay open.

This GC contained 20 flies bothering the inspector, including six in the salad area and two on dishwasher racks. As is common with buffets, food temperature problems needed to be addressed, including liquid eggs that were too warm and sausage that was too cool (the sausage underneath benefited from the top sausage acting as blanket).

No way to dry hands at the handwashing sink. At another handwashing sink there was a “build-up of a mold-like substance.”

“Liquid waste leakage from dumpster onto ground/dumpster pad and draining into storm drain in parking lot.”

“In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment. Stored between prep table and wall on cook line.” How much gunk and crumbs do you imagine live in that crevice, especially considering how well this place doesn’t clean visible elements, such as “fan cover in walk-in cooler/freezer has accumulation of dust or debris?”

This Golden Corral also passed re-inspection on Wednesday.

Tumi Restaurant, 7926 W. Sample Rd., Margate — If you learn more from failure and failing fast, the folks at Tumi should be summa level restaurateurs. Starting Wednesday, Tumi failed four inspections.

Wednesday’s initial coming up short featured 13 live roaches, 10 of which were hanging out under the kitchen prep table, five dead ones on the kitchen floor another five in the reach-in freezer gaskets. Not surprising they weren’t cleaned, considering the inspector also saw “gaskets soiled of reach-in coolers” and “interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue.”

Food was left overnight uncovered in a reach-in freezer. “Outer openings not protected with self-closing doors.” The inside bathroom didn’t have “tight-fitting, self-closing doors.”

On Friday’s first re-inspection failure, Tumi got down to one live roach (in the reach-in cooler gaskets) and five dead ones. They still had the door problems.

For inspection failure No. 3, re-inspection failure No. 2 on Friday, six live roaches chilled in the Kenmore reach-in freezer and they hadn’t dealt with the door problems.

Inspectors will inspect on Saturday. And roaches will walk, such as the two live ones seen in the Frigidaire’s reach-in cooler gasket.

Tumi remained closed.

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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.