‘10 rodent droppings in tray of green beans’: Four South Florida restaurants ordered temporarily shut

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More than 100 live flies landed on raw onions, unwashed scallions and spice containers at four Broward and Palm Beach County eateries forced to close by state inspectors last week.

Restaurants red-flagged by the state included Los Pancho’s Tacos & Tequila in Lake Worth, Berta Grill and Restaurant in Hollywood, Excell Restaurant in Delray Beach and Rancho Chico in Tequesta.

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

Sun Sentinel readers can browse full Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade county reports on our state inspection map, updated weekly (usually Monday) with fresh data pulled from the Florida DBPR website.

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

Los Pancho’s Tacos & Tequila, Lake Worth

Ordered shut: March 30, reopened March 31

Why: Five violations, all of them major, including seven live flies spotted landing “on white clamshell to-go box at server station,” as well as flying around the bar’s floormat. Inspectors also found 10 rodent droppings – but no live rodents – “on floor under shelf in alcohol room” near the back door, “on top of the [kitchen hood] on the cookline, and by the window ledge next to the dining-room booths. The Mexican restaurant reopened the following day after the state discovered zero new issues.

Berta Grill and Restaurant, Hollywood

Ordered shut: March 29, reopened March 31

Why: The state spotted 13 violations (two high priority), led by more than 110 small flies “landing on onions” beneath “a prep table holding boxes of onions, sweet potatoes and yellow yams,” as well as “flying around and landing on spice containers, boxes of flour and … an open container of coffee on a shelf” above the kitchen cooler. The restaurant’s manager “removed the box of onions and took it outside,” but the inspection doesn’t say if they discarded these vegetables. Finally, the state noticed that the kitchen’s rear screen door doesn’t close properly. The Caribbean restaurant reopened March 31 after inspectors found a pair of minor issues.

Excell Restaurant, Delray Beach

1041 S. Congress Ave., Suite #119

Ordered shut: March 29, reopened March 30

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Why: Six violations (three high priority), including the discovery of “10 rodent droppings … in tray of green beans” in the kitchen’s walk-in cooler, as well as 15 live flies spotted “landing on unwashed scallions” and on cardboard boxes “holding wrapped single-service items” in the same walk-in. Inspectors also found one “dead rodent” trapped inside a pest-control device in the walk-in cooler’s storage area, and an employee moved the pest-control device somewhere else. Finally, the state discovered two dead roaches in the kitchen “prep area next to water heater,” and “in corner of hallway next to back door.” The state let the Haitian restaurant open the next day without a single problem discovered during re-inspection. (The restaurant was previously shut down Aug. 24 for similar discoveries of roaches, flies and rodents – both dead and alive.)

Rancho Chico Mexican Cuisine, Tequesta

Ordered shut: March 29, reopened same day

Why: Seven violations (three high priority), such as “four live roaches” scuttling on the floor beneath a reach-in cooler near the cookline. An inspector also spotted seven dead cockroaches in the same area under the kitchen’s reach-in cooler. The restaurant also was ordered to stop selling and trash its cheese dip, rice and chicken in the walk-in cooler “due to temperature abuse.” Inspectors found a single basic issue during its second inspection the same day, but ultimately let the Mexican restaurant reopen.

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