Too many roaches to count and rodent poop aplenty got these restaurants shut down

You know it’s a weird Sick and Shut Down List of South Florida eateries failing state inspection when one inspector finds too many roaches to count in one place and another dings a professional sports team’s practice facility.

So, let’s get to it. What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections. A failed inspection means being shut down for the rest of the day. 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 go in alphabetical order:

Incredible Ice, 3299 Sportsplex Dr., Coral Springs — “Incredible Ice” was the original name of what’s now called the “Florida Panthers Ice Den,” the three-rink facility where South Florida’s NHL team practices and numerous hockey and figure skating competitions take place.

Wednesday, the food service part of the facility fell as short as the Panthers annual pursuit of a playoff berth. Ironically, considering the place rats have in Panthers history, rodents killed the Ice Den food serving area on inspection.

Read Next

“Four droppings on the corner of door next to the storage area. Four droppings on the corner of the soda gun shelves. More than five on shelves under the three-compartment sink. Two in the cabinet where coffee containers are stored. This area is located in a different room as the kitchen and prep area. Two droppings located near the front counter where the drink cooler is located. Four droppings upstairs at the bar next to the beer walk-in cooler. Two dry droppings near the shelf in bar storage.”

There were other problems, such as a “leaking pipe from the ice machine where the soda machine is stored,” “hole in the ceiling in the kitchen area” and “hole in the wall near the soda boxes storage.”

They killed this penalty and passed Thursday’s re-inspection.

Manhattan Pizza, 2600 Broadway Ave., West Palm Beach — When the phrase “too many to count” appears on an inspection, it’s officially garbage time. You’ve lost. The rest of the inspection is just making it official.

“...Hundreds live roaches (too many to count ) under the black garden hose and power tools under the pizza oven.”

Another thing that should never appear on an inspection: “hot water shut off at handwash sink.”

The ricotta cheese made the previous day was 10 degrees too warm, bringing down the Stop Sale boulder.

The inspector returned the next day and used another phrase that usually means you still can’t get right -- “manager killed.” This chronicle of the hunt explains the re-inspection fail.

“One live (roach) under the pizza oven, one live on the mixer on the cook line, manager killed both. Three dead behind the mixer. Manager cleaned three live under the three-door upright cooler in dining room hallway. Manager killed all three and cleaned.”

Manhattan made it on the second re-inspection.

Miller’s Cafe, 10759 SW 56th St., West Miami-Dade — First post-food licensing inspection, first inspection flunk.

Of the 12 live roaches spotted, 10 were between the wall and the three-compartment sink’s back splash. Also, beef soup, red beans, black beans and shredded beef made the previous day got hit with Stop Sales for not being cooled down enough.

“Wet wiping cloth not stored in sanitizing solution between uses.”

“Interior of oven has heavy accumulation of black substance/grease/food debris.”

“Observed kitchen equipment and building materials in front bathrooms area.”

Miller’s didn’t completely pass Wednesday’s re-inspection, getting “time extended” to deal with various issues.

Pei Wei Fresh Kitchen, 18801 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura — What do roaches look like if they fall in flour?

That question came to mind once we read “five live roaches crawling over flour container located under the preparation table located at the front counter.”

The inspector counted over 14 flies flying under that same prep table and around the dining area beverage station, but they must have been marathon flies because the inspector didn’t see the flies land on food or surfaces that food touches.

A Stop Sale crashed on the cornstarch that had no time markings.

In the dining room, the “Ice chute on self-service drink machine is soiled/has a build up of mold-like substance/slime.”

During the Tuesday re-inspection, the inspector still noted “grease accumulated on kitchen floor and/or under cooking equipment, at the front line.”

Rincon Progreseno, 1169 NW 36th St. — Somebody needs to get on better terms with the inspector. Rincon, which failed inspection in late May, failed this time on Thursday. If the inspector showed up for a re-inspection on Friday, which would’ve given Rincon a shot at being back open for the weekend, it doesn’t show on Rincon’s DBPR inspections page.

What does show up is a 40-violation inspection lowlighted by 10 High Priority violations. And the most mysterious of those is “20-plus dry rodent droppings inside bug zapper installed on the wall.”

Who wants to deal with rodents so ninja that they go into a bug zapper, drop a deuce, then leave without getting ZZZZT?

Other signs of rodent life and regularity: “15-plus dry rodent droppings on the floor underneath the shelves and the steam table, two dry rodent droppings on top of a box of variety mix of potato chips, four dry rodent droppings on a countertop underneath the orange juice squeeze machine, and two dry rodent droppings on a shelf by the steam table.”

By comparison, the roach count was light: two live ones, one of which crawled across the dining room floor, and a dead one inside the seafood reach-in freezer.

The number of roaches got outnumbered by prepped food items hit in a Stop Sale storm for being kept at bacteria-favorable temperatures: raw chicken, raw pork, salami, cut lettuce, coleslaw and cheese.

“Observed employee sharpening knives and prepping food no changing gloves” and “Observed cook crack raw shell eggs and then touched clean tongs to prepare tray of food in a to-go container.”

That Welcome to Salmonella would be bothersome enough without the inspector finding no hot water, soap or paper towels at the kitchen handwashing sink.

“Interior of reach-in freezer soiled with accumulation of food residue. Both chest freezers.”

“Unnecessary items/unused equipment on the premises. Observed discarded refrigerators, a freezer, empty coolers in the back exterior area.” They don’t know a Sanford & Son to call?

Sanford and Son-like truck.JPG
David J. Neal

Cleanliness is supposed to be next to Godliness, but for these folks cleanliness might as well be next to Brigadoon.

“Vegetable chopper/dicer/shredder/peeler soiled with old food debris.” “Wall soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area.” “Wall soiled with accumulated grease, food debris, and/or dust. Behind cookline.” “Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris.”

So, you can’t be surprised at this repeat laziness from the May failed inspection: “In-use tongs stored on equipment door handle between uses.”

Smoothie King, 3 N. State Rd. 7, Plantation — Among the Florida DBPR website’s issues Monday was that it kept claiming that there were only five Smoothie Kings in the state of Florida, none of which was this one. So, we have no details on this not-so-smoothie inspection.

Taqueria Guerrero, 3583 S. Congress Ave., Palm Springs — Did you know it was a violation for a food truck to have a flat tire? Now, you know.

The 13 live roaches generally hung out near the grill (eight) and the flip-top cooler (five), but “one dead roach on gyro table” really symbolizes an inspection fail.

Probably should’ve skipped the pineapple water, as two flies zipped around inside the pineapple water container.

“Employee started to cook shredded beef (without) washing hands.”

Then again, the handwashing sink didn’t have soap, when the inspector got there, but did have plastic bags and utensils.

Taqueria rolled through Saturday’s re-inspection.

Tacos Al Carbon, 4420 Lake Worth Rd., Palm Springs — Another food truck in Palm Springs got put up on metaphorical blocks.

“Hot and cold water not provided/shut off at employee handwash sink inside unit. Operator mounted a hand wash sink on the outside wall of unit.” But it didn’t have soap or paper towels.

There was only one flip-top cooler and the air in there measured 49 degrees, too balmy when food placed in there needs to get down to 41 degrees. And it had standing water.

Of course, flies see a food truck as a party truck. Two sat on the corn on the prep table, one sat on the cheese in the cooler, one on the diced tomatoes, three catching a steam on the steam tables, more than 10 darting in and out of the truck.

Also, they were getting water and getting rid of waste improperly.

They got it together in time for the Tuesday re-inspection.

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.