‘Chicken bone on top of paper bag’: Flies, unsanitary workers force six South Florida restaurants shut

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Live flies landing on potatoes and bread, and cockroaches crawling on iced-tea machines forced state inspectors to temporarily order shut six South Florida restaurants last week.

But the award for “most-unsanitary thing we saw on state inspection reports this week” is probably this: an employee’s unattended chicken bone in the kitchen of a Fort Lauderdale Church’s Chicken. Employees also left personal cups of Dunkin’ coffee next to cooked chicken tenders, failed to wear hair restraints or use clean kitchen tools.

Other eateries ordered shut are: Sadie’s Grill and Deli in Pompano Beach, El Rey de la Medialuna in Hollywood, Le Berger Restaurant in Lake Worth, Edgewater Room in Delray Beach and Bear’s Food Shack 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.)

Sadie’s Grill and Deli, Pompano Beach

Ordered shut: Sept. 30, reopened Oct. 1

Why: Five violations (three high priority), including 30 rodent droppings next to and “behind the reach-in cooler in dish/prep area,” along with improperly stored raw beef over cooked potatoes in the cooler. Inspectors let the deli reopen Oct. 1 after finding a single basic issue.

El Rey de la Medialuna, Hollywood

Ordered shut: Sept. 29, reopened Oct. 1

Why: The state spotted 13 violations (four high priority), led by an infestation of 54 live flies landing “on a bakery board … in the prep area” (which one employee later sanitized), on the wall near the espresso machine, “on the counter where inverted coffee mugs are stored,” “behind the fresh-squeezed orange juice machine,” hovering above a floor drain and “inside a fly-trap device on the counter.” The state also spotted one live roach “on the wall … above the dough mixers” (which one employee killed) and seven dead ones “in a light fixture above the bakery prep area.” The restaurant was allowed to reopen Oct. 1 with a pair of minor issues.

Church’s Chicken, Fort Lauderdale

Ordered shut: Sept. 29, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, reopened Oct. 1

Why: Inspectors found 22 violations (five high priority), led by three live flies hovering around the kitchen and bar and 12 live cockroaches “crawling on gaskets of … reach-in freezer” and on the wall “next to ice machine.” The inspector also spotted several employee mishaps in the kitchen, such as “employee chicken bone on top of paper bag,” not wearing hair restraints in a food-preparation area, unsanitized kitchen tools and another worker’s open “cup of Dunkin’ coffee on a [food-warming unit] next to chicken tenders.” The state kept the fast-food chicken joint closed during its second visit on Sept. 30 and third visit on Oct. 1 after finding more live cockroaches – including one “crawling on the iced-tea machine” – as well as broken floor tiles and unclean floors. During the state’s fourth visit on Oct. 1, inspectors found zero dead cockroaches and finally let Church’s reopen — although the chain restaurant still hadn’t repaired broken floor tiles, cleaned its floors or replaced its kitchen sink.

Le Berger Restaurant, Lake Worth

Ordered shut: Sept. 30, reopened Oct. 1

Why: 17 violations (seven high priority), including eight live cockroaches crawling “on the floor in dining room,” “under milk crate next to raw beef thawing in the kitchen” and “on the wall” next to the reach-in freezer. Inspectors also saw a dead rodent on the kitchen floor and rodent droppings “on top of hot water heater” and next to the rodent itself. The state ordered the restaurant to stop selling and throw out its cooked turkey “due to temperature abuse,” and red-flagged a package of “fresh passionfruit juice” when the operator admitted it was made with “powdered mix.” The Haitian restaurant was allowed to reopen Oct. 1 with a handful of small violations, although Le Berger still hadn’t tossed its powdered drink mix.

Edgewater Room, Delray Beach

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Ordered shut: Sept. 29, reopened Sept. 29

Why: Seven violations (two high priority), such as an infestation of 57 live flies “landing on unwashed onions” and “landing on box of unwashed potatoes,” “landing on box of Frito-Lay chips atop rack of bread” and “landing on wrapped bread” in the storage room, as well as landing on kitchen walls and on shelves next to the cook line. Inspectors also noticed the restaurant’s can opener and bar’s soda gun were “soiled with food debris, mold-like substance or slime.” Inspectors let Edgewater reopen the same day with two small violations.

Bear’s Food Shack, Delray Beach

Ordered shut: Sept. 27, reopened Sept. 27

Why: The state found 11 violations (four high priority), led by 57 rodent droppings spotted in an “air-conditioning storage room directly next to cook line,” beneath a back-room storage rack where onions, cutting boards and rice are stored, and near the sink behind the front register. The state also saw a “hole in the ceiling” above the kitchen sink. Inspectors let the restaurant reopen later that day, albeit with another major violation.

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