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Roaches, flies, a food truck with no hot water: Keys to Palm Beach filthy restaurants

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 7/1/2022 David J. Neal, Miami Herald

For the second consecutive week, the Sick and Shut Down List goes to Key West, but for the first time ever, there’s restaurant recidivism within the inspection period.

So, let’s get to this week’s list.

RULES EXIST: What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. A restaurant that fails inspection remains closed until passing an inspection.

If you see a problem and want a place inspected, contact the DBPR. We don’t control who gets inspected nor how strictly the inspector inspects.

We don’t include all violations, just the most moving, whether internally or literally moving (because it’s alive or once was alive). Some violations get corrected after the inspector points them out. But, you have to ask, why do the violations exist in the first place? And how long would they have remained if not for the inspection?

El Balcon De Las Americas, 246 S. Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach:Routine inspection, 16 total violations, nine High Priority violations.

The inspector saw about 50 flies in a food storage area with cans, cups, to-go containers and in the dishwasher area landing on clean utensils.

Speaking of the dishwasher, “Dishmachine chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength.” Or, any strength — zero parts per million. The inspector said to stop using the dishwasher.

The inspector dropped the Stop Sale hammer on dented or rusted cans of mandarins and tomatoes as well as a container of cooked pork that still wasn’t properly cooled after being cooked the previous day. That bucket of bacteria got tossed.

El Balcon passed re-inspection the next day.

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Even Keel Fish Shack, 112 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale By the Sea:Complaint inspection, 12 total violations, three High Priority violations.

Here’s a First Time Ever for the Sick and Shut Down List — by the time we tell you about last week’s failed inspection and violations corrected at the re-inspection, the place went back into another cycle of failed inspection-and-re-inspections.

So, the inspector came by on June 21 and saw 23 dead roaches, including “a dozen in a control device next to kegs in hall leading to public restrooms across from kitchen.” Of the five live roaches, three were in a corner on floor of inside bar next to raw bar cooler.

“In-use ice scoop stored on soiled surface between uses. Ice scoop stored directly on top of the ice machine.”

Now, after passing re-inspection on June 22, someone else told the DBPR Even Keel still had a problem and the inspector returned on Tuesday.

The dead roach count dropped to six, three in the bar area and three in the hall leading to the restrooms or in the restrooms. Live roaches numbered seven, two of which were under a bar area shucking stations, two under a mixer and another two on a wall above the mixer.

“Interior of microwave has accumulation of black substance/grease/food debris.”

Anything in a handwashing sink counts as a barrier to the sink being used as a handwash sink, but “dishes stored in the sink” does kind of indicate the dish area sink wasn’t being used as a handwash sink. Another indicator: no soap. It shared that characteristic with the cookline handwash sink, which didn’t have any way to dry your hands, either.

More live roaches and dead roaches caused Even Keel to flunk two re-inspections on Wednesday before passing one.

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Fritas, 425 Southard St., Key West:Routine inspection, eight total violations, two High Priority violations.

The reverse of hitting the Cash 3 is getting hit with the inspector at your eatery when the water pump is broken.

On June 23, the inspector at this food truck wrote, “At the time of the inspection, did not observe hot water or cold water at the handwash sink. Observed the water pump was broken.”

The inspector saw someone working with food, clean equipment and utensils or touching unwrapped single-service items with unwashed hands. Because “...there is no hot or cold water in the food truck due to a broken water pump, employee is unable to wash hands properly.”

That also means no hot water — no water, period — at the three-compartment sink. Forget cleaned and sanitized cookware.

“Food contact surfaces not sanitized after cleaning and before use.” Technically, that’s not true because they weren’t even cleaned because “...due to a broken water pump, employee is unable to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils properly.”

Two re-inspections later, the water pump problem appeared solved, but the truck still hadn’t gotten the “Met Inspection Standards” result of a passed inspection. That remained the case as of Thursday morning.

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