Dirty Dining: City’s busiest restaurants not immune from violations

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 19, 2014)– In our latest edition of Dirty Dining, we checked out some of the city’s busiest restaurants to see if they’re taking care of health reports with multiple critical violations.

We began at Fogo de Chao, one of Indianapolis’ most popular restaurants. The chef had four critical violations to tell us about.

“We have nothing to hide,” executive chef¬†Joelcir Antunes said.

The restaurant’s last routine inspection turned up mashed potatoes that were 10 degrees below the safe-to-eat level, a kitchen hand sink without working hot water and food handlers wearing watches and bracelets while they made your food.

“The bracelet was from the dishwasher,” Antunes said.

There was no more jewelry on our visit, and Antunes said he’s addressed the problem. As for the broken hot water, Antunes showed us the sink that has since been repaired and said in the meantime, the staff used another sink in the kitchen to wash their hands. The mashed potatoes were also corrected, sitting at a correct temperature on our visit.

“Anyone is more than welcome to come anytime and visit our kitchen, we are more than happy to show them. We don’t have anything to hide,” Antunes said.

It looked like they did have something to hide at the Golden Corral on State Road 37 in Noblesville, though.

The manager refused to talk to FOX59 about the restaurant’s 13 recent violations, including one of the grossest we’ve ever encountered on Dirty Dining.

An inspection report stated that in a container that raw chicken is rinsed in, “the water is bloody, has a temperature of 57 degrees … and chicken pieces are floating in it.”

The next stop has become a regular on Dirty Dining.

The Ruby Tuesday on 96th Street showed FOX59 its new policy on using gloves in February. Yet, the day after that report aired, inspectors slapped a $300 fine on the restaurant for a food handler “preparing tacos with bare hands.”

“We had to let go of someone because of that,” kitchen manager Anthony Berniard said.

Next on our list was the Indianapolis Colts Grille downtown. The executive chef had 13 critical violations to talk to us about, but it was far from a quick visit. We thought we were headed to the kitchen, when instead he called an owner on the phone and took 30 minutes of back-and-forth to finally get to the back.

We wanted to know about cooked chicken found sitting at room temperature, soiled cutting boards and unapproved gnat traps at the bar.

“They were hanging right there, just on the ledge,” executive chef Padraig Cullen said.

Cullen said the traps were precautionary and a previous inspector had signed off on them. They took them down after the last inspection.  He also said the cooked chicken sitting out in the kitchen was leftover from a party and was supposed to be thrown out, along with other dirty dishes left in one area to cool off.

As for the cutting boards, Cullen said they are cleaned daily but do get some wear and tear. He said that he sanded them down and plans to do so again this month.

Our final stop this time on Dirty Dining was El Arado Mexican Grill in the heart of Fountain Square. The owner was docked for four critical violations, after a customer got sick and called the health department. That owner didn’t believe that to be true.

“They don’t follow the rules for the coupons (and) sometimes they get mad and they call the health department,” owner Heminio Telao said.

On our trip, though, we caught violations in action. For one thing, we saw cell phones sitting out in the kitchen right next to taco shells. When we asked Telao about gloves, he had to leave the kitchen to go get boxes of them. We also watched as Telao used a thermometer to take the temperature of ground beef and then moved it into cold cheese without washing it.

“When the food is cooked already, nobody (is) going to get sick,” Telao said after our questioning.

The restaurant did get through a re-inspection after that customer complaint, but we’ll be checking back and letting owners like this know that we are watching to keep you safe.

If you are concerned about the cleanliness of a local restaurant, whether you ate there or even worked there, tweet us @FOX59 and use the hash tag #dirtydining.