Cockroaches in bay leaves, to-go boxes force South Florida restaurants closed

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jul 06, 2021 2:44 PM

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Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Flies landing on raw chicken and cockroaches crawling inside a storage bin of bay leaves caused state inspectors to shut down a trio of South Florida restaurants over Fourth of July weekend.

Indian Harvest in Boca Raton and a Pollo Tropical in West Palm Beach were temporarily closed for one day, while Hibachi on the Go in Lake Park failed inspection twice.

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.)

500 Via de Palmas, Suite 79, Boca Raton

Ordered shut: July 1, allowed to reopen July 2

Why: 12 violations (seven major). In the hallway near the kitchen, inspectors spotted an infestation of 20 live roaches crawling “in a dry bin of bay leaves,” along with seven more roaches on the floor in the kitchen and “on the wall behind a case of coconut milk.” Inspectors also spotted seven dead roaches on the floor and in the hallway “by door leading into dining room.” Naturally, inspectors ordered the restaurant to stop selling bay leaves. They also ordered Indian Harbor to throw out its yogurt sauce, cream cheese, raw chicken and shredded cheese for temperature abuse. The restaurant was allowed to reopen July 2 when a follow-up visit found zero violations.

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Ordered shut: July 1 and July 2, allowed to reopen July 2

Why: Inspections spotted 13 violations (seven major), including “1 live roach crawling on top of customer’s food to-go box at the bagging counter,” five others underneath the bagging counter and three more underneath the kitchen food-prep table and sink. They also spotted 21 dead roaches underneath the reach-in-cooler, food-prep tables, “fryers and cooking equipment at cook line.” Inspectors ordered Hibachi to throw out batches of day-old precooked rice for temperature abuse, and because the operator portioned the rice into “big plastic containers.” However, Hibachi hadn’t tossed its rice before the follow-up inspection on July 2, when inspectors ordered the restaurant to throw it away — again. Inspectors kept the restaurant closed July 2 after finding six more dead roaches under the prep table and in the employee’s bathroom and six live ones near the rear exit and employee’s bathroom. The restaurant was allowed to reopen later on July 2 when a third inspection found zero issues.

3085 45th St., West Palm Beach

Ordered shut: July 2, allowed to reopen July 3

Why: Nine violations (four major), including four “live small flying insects” landing on raw chicken, on the grill area, at rice prep and in dry storage. Inspectors ordered the restaurant to throw out its raw chicken and clean up the chicken reach-in cooler handles, which were “soiled with slimy/moldy build-up.” One inspector, meanwhile, spotted a drive-thru employee taking a food order while touching their microphone headset, and “then proceeded to touch bread, filled rice and bean containers and bagged the order” without changing gloves or washing hands between tasks. The fast-food chain was allowed to reopen July 3 when a second inspection found zero problems.

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