‘Employees are not washing hands,’ touching ice, salad ingredients: 6 South Florida restaurants shut

Roaches near a deli slicer, clean pots on the floor, tainted salad ingredients and many, many examples of employees not washing their hands were among the issues that forced state inspectors to temporarily shut six South Florida restaurants last week.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel typically highlights restaurant inspections conducted by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation in Broward and Palm Beach counties. We cull through inspections that happen weekly and spotlight places ordered shut for “high-priority violations,” such as improper food temperatures or dead cockroaches.

Any restaurant that fails a state inspection must stay closed until it passes a follow-up. If you spotted a possible violation and wish to file a complaint, contact Florida DBPR. (But please don’t contact us: The Sun Sentinel doesn’t inspect restaurants.)

Atlantic Pho, Margate

5408 W. Atlantic Blvd.

Ordered shut: Aug. 31 and Sept. 1; reopened Sept. 1

Why: 17 violations (four high-priority), including 74 rodent droppings atop and underneath the kitchen’s dishwashing machine, as well as “beside triple sink,” “in dry storage area,” “on cook line underneath cooking equipment,” “in prep area next to hot water heater” and “in wait station next to coffee machine and ice machine.”

The restaurant was ordered to stop selling and trash its pork, beef, beef stew, sausage, beef soup, shrimp, rice noodles, egg noodles and half-and-half “due to temperature abuse.”

The report red-flagged one employee for storing a cell phone “on a prep table on cook line,” and noted issues such as “walk-in cooler gasket in disrepair” and “microwave with an accumulation of old food debris at cook line.”

The restaurant was ordered to remain shut on Sept. 1 for rodent dropping issues, but it was cleared to reopen after its third inspection that same day yielded only a single minor issue.

The restaurant was previously ordered shut on June 29 for, among other problems, similar rodent dropping concerns.

Nana’s Food For You, Hallandale Beach

312 N. Federal Highway

Ordered shut: Sept. 1; reopened same day

Why: Seven violations (three high-priority), including two flies spotted swarming around “in dry storage away from kitchen, not landing on any surface.”

There were also 22 rodent droppings found “under rack in dry storage area away from kitchen,” “on lower rack shelf” in the same area, “on containers of cocoa powder on rack by restroom” and “under blast chiller next to triple sink in kitchen.”

The state caught one employee “with no hair restraint while engaging in food preparation.” An employee was also spotted “putting hairnet on,” then proceeding to “wrap individual prepared meals without removing gloves nor washing hands first.”

Inspectors red-flagged no new issues during a reinspection later that day and let the restaurant reopen.

Pompano Pizza, Pompano Beach

1606 S. Cypress Road

Ordered shut: Aug. 30; reopened Aug. 31

Why: 13 violations (nine high-priority), many focused around sanitation, hygiene and food items contaminated by employees.

These included workers touching “ready-to-eat salad ingredients (cut lettuce/cut tomatoes/sliced onion/sliced cucumber) with bare hands,” adding: “Employees are not washing hands.” An employee was seen switching “from cleaning to preparing pizza, no hand wash,” and another “touched face and hair and then scooped ice and made a drink without washing hands.” Likewise, an employee “touched soiled apron/clothes and then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment or utensils, or touched unwrapped single-service items without washing hands.”

Naturally, the restaurant was ordered to stop selling and trash its cut lettuce and tomatoes, as well as the sliced onion and cucumber, after the salad ingredients were touched by the employee. The restaurant also stopped selling and tossed its sliced American cheese, fresh garlic in oil, cooked sausage, cooked pasta, sliced ham and sliced provolone because the items weren’t “prepared or portioned today” and were “being held in cooler overnight.”

The next-day inspection found one high-priority and two intermediate violations, but the pizzeria was cleared to reopen.

The Rock Irish Pub, Lake Worth Beach

614 Lake Ave.

Ordered shut: Aug. 29; reopened Aug. 30

Why: 22 violations (four high-priority), including at least 56 live cockroaches found “on wall in kitchen over dry storage rack, freezer chest and prep table,” as well as “on prep table at deli slicer in kitchen.”

One dead roach was seen “inside two-door cooler behind walk-in cooler in back kitchen area.”

The restaurant was ordered to stop selling and trash one dented can of marinara sauce, along with “beer bottles in ice used for consumption at bar” due to “adulteration of food product.”

Finally, the state cited multiple sanitation issues such as “cabbage and raw chicken on floor beer walk-in cooler” and “buildup of food debris/soil residue on equipment door handles.”

Despite six basic and intermediate violations found during the state’s follow-up reinspection, the pub was allowed to reopen.

Outback Steakhouse, Davie

14830 Griffin Road

Ordered shut: Aug. 28; reopened Aug. 29

Why: Five violations (four high-priority), including seven cockroaches found crawling in the kitchen “on wall underneath clean service utensils” and “on wall and prep table underneath” the food processor. The inspection also found five flies “flying around closed containers of vinegar.”

The restaurant was ordered to stop selling and toss its raw and cooked shrimp “due to temperature abuse.”

Zero issues uncovered during a next-day inspection cleared the steakhouse chain to reopen.

La Mia Focaccia, Fort Lauderdale

6330 N. Powerline Road

Ordered shut: Aug. 28; reopened Aug. 29

Why: 13 violations (two high-priority), including four live cockroaches spotted “crawling on wall and floor behind dishwasher in kitchen area,” as well as eight dead roaches “on chemical container above three-compartment sink” and “on floor throughout kitchen area.”

One employee was seen leaving a personal, open beverage container in a walk-in cooler, which had “food to be served to customers.”

The state also red-flagged multiple sanitation issues, such as “clean and sanitized pots stored on the floor,” “microwave and cutting board soiled” and “floor soiled/has accumulation of debris … throughout kitchen.”

During a reinspection the next day, the state found zero follow-up issues and let the restaurant reopen.

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