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Dirty Dining: Inspectors fine Marion County restaurants for several critical violations

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(Feb. 20, 2014) – FOX59 found more than a handful of restaurants that have been  cited for several critical violations in the last three months and were slapped with a fine by the Marion County Public Health Department. Some of the businesses also have a long history of problems that could pose serious health risks to their patrons.

On the list is Ruby Tuesday at 8133 East 96th Street. In front of health inspector, the sous chef grabbed a slice of cheese after handling a raw hamburger patty.

“He reached around, and pulled the cheese out of the drawer with the same glove,” said the manager.

That is one of seven critical violations recorded during the restaurant’s latest inspection that include improper hand-washing, no hair protection, dirty glasses, and contaminated food that needed to be dumped among others. The manager said they have since invested in double gloves and other protective measures. Still, the restaurant has received similar report cards since last March.

“They’ve got that new lipstick that you got to scrub it off now,” said the manager. He continued. “Me, personally, I think it’s part of their job security.”

FOX59 also paid Flapjacks at 4904 Madison Avenue a visit. An employee said FOX59 cameras were not allowed in the kitchen. Instead, she promised an owner would speak to the violations, but when he did call, he did not extend an invitation back to his restaurant. He also had no explanations for the problem areas as cited by an inspector.

Critical violations mentioned potentially hazardous foods in the kitchen because they were not cool enough, no date-marking inside a cooler full of stuffed cabbage, roast beef, other lunch meats and lasagna. That was a repeat, critical violation.

FOX59 cameras also caught a waiter handling food with his bare hand.

Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet at 7737 Shelby Street also made the cut. It received 15 critical violations at the end of January. The biggest problem, and potentially the restaurant’s best selling point, is its hot and cold buffet.

“When they came here, it was not operating well ,” said the owner about the buffet heaters. “Now, we replaced them with new ones.”

FOX59 put the heaters to the test with a thermometer on site. They were performing as they should have been during the visit.

The restaurants violations speak to a soiled meat grinder, a dirty sink used by the cooks, imitation crab thawing at room temperature, no sneeze guard at the buffet, no date-marking on the sushi, and mouse droppings in a closet area off the kitchen.

The manager said they moved the food that was not protected with a sneeze guard. He also said they took care of the mouse droppings, and he promised to date-mark the sushi, but he could not show FOX59 evidence of that.

Domino’s Pizza at 3220 South East Street was also on the health department’s list. A manager told FOX59 to call their corporate office. They would not comment about the location’s critical violations and recent fine.

The issues, as reported by an inspector, included bags of chicken wings and nuggets sitting out and warming up into the potentially hazardous zone, sanitizer hanging over a prep table, and no certified food handler employed there among others.

Paragon Restaurant at 118 South Girls School Road was also visited by FOX59.

The owner said his roach problem may in part be caused by the trucks dropping off food products to the restaurant.

Dead roaches were seen by an inspector in the kitchen behind the stove. FOX59 cameras did not catch any, but an exterminator receipt from the day before was presented by the owner who said he is having the pest control company spray more often now.

The restaurant was also cited for potentially hazardous foods, an open rodent bait station, a cutting board that was sitting on the floor, no hand-washing, and improper use of gloves among others.

Los Rancheros at 7125 Georgetown Road was cited for 17 critical violations. It was also ordered to pay a $300 fine. It has not been violation-free since December 2012, according to health department records.

An inspector found violations that speak to live roaches in the kitchen, no hand-washing, no glove change after an employee handled raw egg, a can of Raid sitting on the ledge of an ice bin, and food being held at an unsafe temperature.

“That’s why they threw everything away, and they replaced the whole thing,” said an employee about a refrigeration unit on site. “We were closed for three days.”

She said her manager was on a two-hour break, but she would call when returned so that FOX59 could speak with her and take a look at their kitchen.

The latest health inspection reports in Marion County are available at this link: http://hhcwebfood.mchd.com/