Big Louie’s Pizzeria in Fort Lauderdale, Red Lobster in Boynton Beach, five more South Florida restaurants ordered shut

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Flies and other vermin overindulged over Labor Day weekend and beyond, landing on pizza and opened wine bottles and forcing state inspectors to temporarily order shut a whopping seven restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties. We’re not passing judgment here, since that also describes how we spent our Labor Day.

Of the seven restaurants, only one — Indian Harvest in Boca Raton — is a repeat offender, appearing in this space two months ago. Other eateries briefly closed included Big Louie’s Pizzeria Italian Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Costa Azul Seafood Restaurant in West Palm Beach, Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine in Pembroke Pines, Red Lobster in Boynton Beach, Vivo Pizza + Pasta in Boca Raton and Sushi Masa & Thai Cuisine in Delray Beach.

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.)

Big Louie’s Pizzeria Italian Restaurant

1990 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

Ordered shut: Sept. 7, reopened Sept. 8

Why: 10 violations (five high-priority), including five rodent droppings and 10 dead cockroaches in a kitchen storage area containing “bread and pizza boxes.” The restaurant was ordered to stop selling and trash its “dented cans” of artichoke hearts, baby clams, corn and red peppers, as well as three pans of lasagna for “temperature abuse.” Inspectors let Big Louie’s reopen Sept. 8 when its reinspection revealed just one minor issue.

500 Via de Palmas, Suite 79, Boca Raton

Ordered shut: Sept. 7, reopened Sept. 8

Costa Azul Seafood Restaurant

1209 S. Military Trail, Suite F-G, West Palm Beach

Ordered shut: Sept. 1, reopened Sept. 3

Why: 10 violations (three high-priority), including 48 live flies landing on a “container of red peppers,” “on rice containers,” swarming around a storage area and landing atop white onions. The state also spotted three live cockroaches crawling on the hand sink and around the kitchen’s storage area, and six dead roaches near and “on gasket of chest freezer.” Inspectors let the seafood eatery reopen Sept. 3 after their reinspection found a pair of minor issues.

15941 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines

Ordered shut: Sept. 1, reopened Sept. 2

Why: 15 violations (seven high-priority), led by 27 live flies “landing on dirty dishes,” “on various clean plates and rolling cart,” on a bag of croutons, on a bottle of caramel syrup, on a sealed bin of plantain chips and on a “clean hanging pot in rear kitchen area.” Inspectors spotted a pair of pest-control snafus in the kitchen, including “fly sticky tape hanging over food preparation area” and a faulty device causing an “accumulation of dead flies stuck to wall above and around bug zapper.” Inspectors told the operator to replace its fly tape and clear out “dead or trapped birds, insects, rodents, or other pests” inside pest-control devices. Inspectors also ordered Las Vegas to stop selling and throw away its sliced ham and cheese for medianoche sandwiches, chicken noodle soup and cooked lamb “due to temperature abuse.” The state allowed Las Vegas to reopen Sept. 2 after discovering three minor issues.

700 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach

Ordered shut: Sept. 1, reopened Sept. 2

Why: There were six violations (three high-priority). Just imagine state inspectors’ surprise when they cracked open the doors of an unused salad prep station, only to discover “20+ live roaches” crawling around inside. (If you don’t remember ‘Creepshow,’ consider yourselves lucky.) More critters (30+ live flies) lurked “under the sink next to dish machine.” The state let the seafood chain reopen Sept. 2 with zero new violations.

5250 Town Center Circle, Suite 129-131, Boca Raton

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Ordered shut: Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, reopened Sept. 1

Why: Six violations (one high-priority), including 53 live flies found swarming “on the wall at the bar,” “on open wine bottles,” “on cases of dried pasta” in the storage room, “on walls in employee restroom,” and on the sink and atop “folded pizza boxes at the pizza station.” Inspectors also spotted a bucket of tomato sauce, “frozen pizza dough and raw chicken stored on the floor,” which the operator quickly put back on shelves. The state’s second inspection on Sept. 1 found 15 more live flies landing “on walls in dining room” and around the bar drain and front counter. Those vermin disappeared by the inspector’s third visit later that day, when they discovered minor issues but cleared the restaurant to reopen.

Sushi Masa & Thai Cuisine

1648 S. Federal Highway, Delray Beach

Ordered shut: Aug. 30, reopened Sept. 1

Why: 10 violations (five high-priority), including 38 live flies hovering near the “sushi line” and wait station, “landing and staying on empty bucket that is labeled pickled ginger” beneath a kitchen sink – although inspectors didn’t see pests landing on the food itself. The state also told the restaurant to stop selling and toss its cooked chicken “due to temperature abuse.” While more major violations were spotted during the state’s second inspection, inspectors let the restaurant reopen Sept. 1.

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