Dirty Dining: Roaches, old meat among health violations found in local restaurants

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Clarification (December 22, 2014):  An earlier version of this article was posted with a different image. Roaches and old meat were not among the health violations found at Patriot’s Grill.

GREENWOOD, Ind. (Nov. 6, 2014) — In FOX59’s latest edition of Dirty Dining, we followed your leads to see what restaurants are really cooking up.

This time, Dirty Dining went down to Greenwood and the south side. Our first stop: The Patriot’s Grill, after a viewer emailed in a tip.

“(Do) you want to come back here in the back?” the owner asked.

This summer, inspectors fined the restaurant for malfunctioning plumbing. Then, a September inspection turned up a “terrible sewer gas odor” and a hand sink without soap.

The owner was able to show FOX59 some of the fixes, including soap and working plumbing.

“We had somebody come in and unclog it. It was minor,” he said.

But we saw dirty dishes and found the kitchen far from spotless. When we started to leave, he blocked us, trying to get our camera away.

“I want to talk to Jill,” he said.

We weren’t willing to turn our camera off, wanting to document everything for you, so we left. The restaurant will get another visit from health inspectors in a few months.

Next on the list: Margaritas, a restaurant located on the south side.

The manager had eight critical violations, several of them repeats, to talk about. An inspector found rice, old chicken and raw hamburger–all sitting out at dangerous temperatures.  There were also flies in the kitchen and “food handlers not washing hands.”

After talking to FOX59 at the front of the restaurant for 10 minutes, he finally took us back to the kitchen, where some violations had been corrected.

“He went and washed his hands, and now he’s changing gloves,” the manager said.

Yet, we saw buckets of spices sitting without lids and a bin of refrigerated raw meat, spilling out the side and presenting a potential for contamination.

“They’re going to take (that) out right now because we have a big order to do,” he said.

Some concerning behavior, but an inspector did find all of the old violations addressed when they checked back.

“If we had a problem or two, we always try to fix (it) because we care about our customers,” he said.

There were plenty of customers at our next stop, the IHOP on US 31.

In July, a viewer told us in an email that “a cockroach went across our table.” Two months later, after a complaint to the health department, inspectors did find “numerous roaches behind grills on the cookline.” They told managers to “improve cleanliness to avoid pests.”

Rechecking a week later, the roaches were gone, but an inspector found another critical violation: an employee preparing a sandwich with bare hands.

We were allowed to wait in the lobby for five minutes while employees got the manager, who told us we’d have to call corporate.

“I don’t give any statement. We don’t want to give any statement,” that manager said.

Spokesperson Craig Hoffman did send us a statement, saying:

“At IHOP, anything less than meeting—and  exceeding—standards is  unacceptable to us and not what we expect for our guests. Our franchisee has informed us he has used this opportunity  to take immediate action to correct any issues to ensure we are operating at the highest level of excellence.”

We ended this Dirty Dining report on a positive note, though.

For their clean kitchen, we’re giving out our first Dine 59 Award to the Bob Evans on Marlin Drive in Greenwood.

The restaurant has had completely clean health inspections, with not one the smallest violation noted, for more than two years.

The award serves as a good lesson to other restaurants as we keep following up on your leads, taking our camera with us to be sure you’re safe.

WEB EXTRA: To see two more restaurants we visited this time around, click on the link here. You can also fill out the form below to send a tip of your own for a future Dirty Dining story.

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