Food & Dining

A Wendy’s, a Chipotle and country club rodents among restaurant inspection fails

We realize that we’ve gone a few weeks without giving you a Sick and Shut Down List of South Florida restaurants.

We’re going to rectify that right now.

We’re not going to get as detailed as we usually do just because of the sheer volume.

What follows comes from state restaurant inspections. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We report this without passion or prejudice but with a heaping helping of humor.

The Breakfast Shack, 3469 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach — On Dec. 19, the inspector spotted a dozen live roaches inside a base board under the dishwashing machine, two in the detergent bucket underneath that machine and a roach on a nearby wall.

Butter that needed to be at 41 degrees or under carried a temperature of 61 degrees. The manager wasn’t sure how long the stick sat outside the reach-in cooler, so the inspector dropped a Stop Sale on it.

Wherever employees washed their hands, it wasn’t in the hand-wash sink, which was blocked from use and had containers stored in it.

The Shack got back open after Thursday’s re-inspection.

Camille’s, 1202 Simonton St., Key West — The word “accumulation” is never good on a restaurant inspection. Such as “accumulation of encrusted food debris on/around mixer head” and “accumulation of food/debris on food-contact surface.”

Eleven roaches ran on the floor, on the cook line, on a shelf with vinegar and under the bread rack, and 20 dead roaches lay about, including one inside a mixing bowl. Flies buzzed the soda guns in the front bar area.

The drain wasn’t attached to the kitchen hand wash sink, making usage difficult or quite messy.

After re-inspections Dec. 11, Wednesday and Thursday, Camille’s is still trying to meet inspection requirements.

Charm City Burger Co., 1136 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach — The back prep and food storage areas got noticed by the inspector on Dec. 13 who noted flies (13 in those areas, including three landing on the slicer and three on the prep table), a slicer blade (“soiled with old food debris”) and four dead roaches on the floor.

Raw burgers that had been in a cook line drawer all night got tossed when their temperature measured at 46 degrees, five above the upper safety limit of 41.

Charm City passed a re-inspection on Dec. 17 and another inspection Thursday. But the lone High Priority violation concerned cooked beef and lamb burger kept at too warm a temperature. The cow and sheep got moved to a reach-in freezer for proper cooling.

Chipotle, 2380 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach — A hint and a half came to Chipotle Dec. 12 with an “administrative complaint recommended” inspection result, which means you’re a wayward cough from being shut down for the day. That day, 24 live flies on a chip bag box, pico that couldn’t seem to be properly cooled and “wall soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area” bothered the inspector.

All of that remained a problem the next day when the inspector shut down this Chipotle. But the inspector gave this chain outlet two more chances on Dec. 13 to get it right and it eventually did.

Chicken House No. 2, 3203 NW 17th Ave., Miami — The inspector saw on Dec. 20, not eight tiny reindeer, but “eight live roaches crawling from a box containing foam cups.”

Think about what exists in that narrow space between your stove and counter. Then, read “In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment. Observed knife between prep table and reach in cooler unit located at kitchen area” and understand it was used to cut food somebody ate.

The Chicken House was back open after Friday’s re-inspection.

Dragon Teahouse, 1327 Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park — Rodent poop pellets dotted the restaurant. The inspector spotted 29 fresh ones on top of the dishwashing machine, 15 fresh ones on the floor next to the prep table to 10 soft and fresh ones on dry storage area shelves, six fresh and three dry under the cookline counter, four new ones under the two-compartment prep sink and three fresh ones near where the wait staff congregates.

With all these rodents running around, you better wash the dishes well. Whoops -- the dishwashing machine chlorine sanitizer measured zero point zero parts per million.

The reach-in cooler didn’t work, which may have been why chicken was thawing at room temperature. The hand-washing sink was used to dump food.

The Dragon breathed again after two Dec. 13 re-inspections.

Einstein Bros Bagels, 202 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables — On Dec. 11, the inspector saw “raw sewage on ground of establishment. Outside the restaurant between the back door and the dumpster” and “Both restrooms are out of order and closed to customers’ and employees’ use.”

So, it’s not surprising that there was an “objectionable odor throughout establishment.”

A couple of food handling problems: “Corn meal placed in soiled container/equipment” and butter and milk held at room temperature instead of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Einstein got back open Dec. 12.

El Portal Restaurant, 3438 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach — Only three live roaches and two dead roaches spotted, but one of the dead roaches was on a slicer, which says many things and none of them are good. Two flies landed on the slicer, one on the prep table and 20 of them hung out on or zipped around near the kitchen entrance wall.

Keeping the hot food hot and the cold storage food cold proved a difficult task what with a weak flip top cooler and workers leaving a walk-in cooler door open. Aside from the food not kept cool enough, cheese bread and corn cakes that were to be above 135 degrees were at 68 and 69 degrees, respectively.

La Costa, 1855 S. State Rd. 7, Central Broward — Two evidences of “rodent activity” on Dec. 11: six dried pieces of rodent poo and one dead mouse in a trap.

The inspector also started dropping Stop Sales like Dec. 26 prices. Taken off the market were the 70 tamales cooked in a private home, tomatoes with mold in a reach-in cooler, cooked beans and sauces, ham, beans, refried beans, bacon, conch, mussels, corn atole, tomato sauce and cheese in a reach-in cooler but not properly cooled.

Los Primos Cafeteria & Grill No. 2, 1864 SW Eighth St., Miami — Los Primos didn’t have a valid Division of Hotels and Restaurants license but did have five roaches in cabinets over prep tables and two live roaches on the prep table.

Also, no soap at the kitchen hand-wash sink and a knife stored between wall and equipment.

Mirador Restaurant, 1111 Royal Poinciana, Miami Springs — We’re not going to get all excited about five live roaches when there’s “self-service salad bar/buffet lacking adequate sneeze guards” or “black/green mold-like substance” inside the ice machine.

But it’s hard to overlook “approximately 50 dead roaches inside dining room floor located along window, and entrance to kitchen. Also located behind buffet line....approximately 10 dead roaches located under cooler by lockers near chemical storage room, approximately 25 dead roaches inside trap located behind bread warmer on the exposed side of cook line.”

Mirador got it together for the Dec. 15 re-inspection.

Peking Place, 531 S. Main St., Belle Glade — Welcome to this month’s Running of the Roaches, as chronicled by the inspector visiting Peking Place Thursday.

“Observed approximately 30 live roaches behind the electrical conduit on the wall between the dishwasher and three-compartment sink...three live roaches on the wall above the three-compartment sink...five live roaches on the floor in the kitchen prep area and around the prep table...four live roaches under the prep room prep table...three live roaches under the trash can when the can was moved.”

And as for the dead roaches, there were seven on an electrical outlet box, 10 on a shelf above the three-compartment sink, five under the dishwasher and three under the rice cooker.

Things remained too buggy Friday, but the Place reopened after Saturday’s re-inspection.

Sawa Restaurant & Lounge, 360 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables — On Dec. 19, “dishwasher was touching dirty plates and the trash can then went straight to touching clean plates without washing his hands.”

And he doesn’t get a break because two hand-wash sinks had no soap nor did they have any way to dry hands. But, as the dish-washing machine’s sanitizer wasn’t at even minimal strength, how much worse were the dishwasher’s hands than the dishes?

Live roaches scurried by the wall, on the cook line, on the wall and near the paper napkins. Something else you don’t want to see on the floor of a restaurant: standing water, by the three-compartment sink.

Wendy’s, 1856 NE Miami Gardens Dr., North Miami Beach — “Approximately 10 live roaches inside french fries container box located on dry storage shelf by the walk-in cooler.”

None of the other 21 live roaches spotted skittered anywhere nearly as unsettling as that. But, there were “approximately 14 dead flies inside reach-in cooler located under cold holding line in front of ice machine.”

“Objectionable odor in establishment. Apparently from the standing water under hand washing sink next to soda machine by the drive through window.”

Even after two passed inspections since this one, stuff like this brings lightning off the corporate mountaintop.

Woodlands Country Club, 4600 Woodlands Blvd., Tamarac — However much membership costs, members probably expect better from the food and drink areas than “16 dry rodent droppings in bar storage room. Three fresh and 24 dry rodent droppings on top of buffet tables in storage room near employee restrooms. Thirteen dry rodent droppings on floor in storage room near employee restrooms. Two dry rodent droppings in staircase leading to storage room near employee restrooms. Six dry rodent droppings in chaffing dish storage room near dishwashing area. One fresh rodent dropping under slicer in prep area.”

Among the food, a pound of ham and a pound of turkey each had been in the reach-in cooler nine days. That’s not quite an office refrigerator, but way too long for anything else. The ham and turkey got tossed.

The hand-washing sink issues included no hot water in the bar area, no soap at the hand-washing sinks in the dish area, near a walk-in cooler and both employee rest rooms. Maybe the men’s restroom soap got lost in the hole in the wall.

Woodlands Country Club failed a re-inspection on Dec. 6, but passed Dec. 7 and Wednesday.

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.