Roaches in coolers, 38 flies landing on bar glasses: restaurants failing 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.

Though this week’s Sick and Shut Down List of South Florida restaurants that failed inspections only includes four places, it does include the first violation we’ve seen for “removing/covering/defacing the sign” saying a place failed inspection.

What follows comes from Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation restaurant inspections. Failed inspections close a restaurant until the establishment passes re-inspection. We don’t control who gets inspected, although if we see an egregious violation, we’ll report it, just like you can here. We don’t control how strictly places get inspected. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a side dish of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Bakery Italia, 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd., Coral Springs — No bugs or rodents here. Maybe they sensed they might not survive the food, much of which got drowned in a tidal wave of Stop Sales for being kept at temperatures that invite foodborne badness.

And, we’re not talking a couple of degrees here or there that could be fudged. Six riceballs and three pizzas that needed to be at 135 degrees or above were at 72 and 70, respectively.

Here’s what needed to be at 41 degrees or below after cooling overnight in a reach-in cooler that looks like it could’ve been replaced by an old school metal Scooby-Doo lunchbox:

One pound of sliced prosciutto (50 degrees); sliced ham (52 degrees); shredded mozzarella cheese (51); fresh mozzarella cheese (70); tomatoes (70); sliced turkey (70); four slices of each rainbow cake (72); grandma cake (73); New York cheesecake (74); ricotta cheesecake (70); pistachio cheesecake (72); chocolate cake (73); tiramisu (49) sfogliatella (52); one bag of cannoli cream (52); one chocolate mousse cake (70); one raspberry cheesecake (71); and one rainbow cake (72).

Unsurprisingly, the inspector found “all reach-in coolers (four) are at ambient temperature of 60 to 70 degrees.”

“No sanitizer of any kind available for warewashing” and, as for washing hands, “Hot water at handwash sink does not reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Over on the cliche side of the kitchen, “Manager vaped then handled clean utensils no handwash.”

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

The next day, Aug. 13, “Establishment removed/covered/defaced closure sign posted by the division.”

Despite this show of disrespect, the Bakery passed the Aug. 13 re-inspection.

Carl’s Seafood Restaurant, 2934 State Rd. 7, Lauderdale Lakes — “Objectionable odor in establishment in dishwashing area.”

Maybe that olfactory foul was caused by the “standing water in between cracked tiles by dish draining rack.”

“Approximately 10 live roaches over prep table where operator is prepping chicken in prep area/dish area.”

Handwashing doesn’t seem a priority. “Handwash sink not accessible for employee use due to being blocked by garbage can. Observed handwash sink in kitchen area blocked with ladder.”

A Stop Sale got dropped on rice and peas still too warm after a night in the walk-in cooler.

“In-use utensil stored in standing water less than 135 degrees — Observed serving spoon stored in standing water at 87 degrees under steam table on service line...multiple utensils stored in standing water at 78 degrees in the kitchen area.”

Carl’s got it together for the Aug. 13 re-inspection.

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La Gran Parada Dominicana, 7503 NW 32nd Ave., Miami — When your restaurant is a Rodents vs. Roaches battleground, you’re getting shut down.

The four-legged and furry marked its territory with “...approximately 25 rodent droppings under the three-compartment sink.” Meanwhile, the 20 live roaches spread out, although six established a beachhead inside a reach-in cooler.

Then, there were the 63 roaches hors de combat, eight of which were “under the prep counter kitchen area near clean utensils,” 10 of which were “inside the reach-in cooler near the food” and 25 of which were under the reach-in cooler.

Speaking of the reach-in cooler, “Interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue,” there was “standing water inside” and it didn’t work.

Another food contact surface, the cutting board(s) were “stained/soiled.”

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

La Gran passed the Friday re-inspection.

Moon Thai & Japanese, 2818 Weston Rd., Weston — Friday, Flies, flies, everywhere, flies...”38 at the bar landing on clean glasses; 13 at the wait station landing on clean scoops and soda nozzles; four at the cookline landing on walls and cutting boards; nine in dry storage landing on containers and cans of food; two at the prep area landing on clean utensils.”

What is this, “Amityville Horror, Asian Cuisine?”

“Employee began handling food without washing hands.”

Also, ew. “Ceiling/ceiling tiles/vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance. Over cookline.”

“Walk-in cooler shelves soiled with encrusted food debris.”

“Bowl or other container with no handle used to dispense food. Bowl removed from ice machine”

The inspector gave Moon Thai a same-day re-inspection, which would’ve gotten Moon Thai open for the Friday night dinner rush.

Instead, the vents were still soiled over the cookline. The fly count went to 14 at the bar landing on the handwashing sink and trash can, five landing on the wait station soda machine and two at dry storage.

Moon Thai passed Saturday’s 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.