‘Flour containing small insects’: Seven South Florida restaurants ordered shut

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Unwanted pests fearlessly dove into — and tainted — glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice, tubs of cream cheese and containers of flour at seven South Florida restaurants briefly ordered shut by state inspectors last week.

One restaurant, Chez Tidoc Restaurant in Delray Beach, shut when inspectors saw packages of peanut butter that “appeared to be bitten apart” by rodents — right next to 35 rodent droppings. Other restaurants red-flagged: Donna’s Caribbean Restaurant in Lauderhill, Las Carnitas Latin Cuisine in Pompano Beach, Grecian Delight in Fort Lauderdale, Blue Fish Sushi Thai in Fort Lauderdale, El Rey de la Medialuna in Hollywood and Sabine Caribbean Restaurant 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.)

Donna’s Caribbean Restaurant, Lauderhill

Ordered shut: Sept. 13, reopened Sept. 14

Why: 23 violations (seven high priority), led by 28 live cockroaches crawling beneath the “main kitchen mop sink,” “crawling on prep table while employee [was] preparing food,” crawling on the wall and around “wiring and cable box” in the kitchen. Inspectors also spotted 19 dead cockroaches “behind Donna’s reach-in cooler,” inside and behind the kitchen cabinets and beneath the sink. One inspector saw an “employee touching ready-to-eat cabbage with their bare hands,” who was ordered to put on gloves, and ordered the restaurant to stop selling 27 gizzadas (a kind of Jamaican pastry tart), 11 peanut cakes, nine coconut drops and “23 cakes” because the food came from an “unapproved source/no invoice provided to verify source.” The restaurant was also ordered to stop selling and trash its Nature’s Way juice and six pans of macaroni and cheese “due to temperature abuse.” State inspectors cleared the restaurant to reopen Sept. 14 after find a single follow-up issue.

Blue Fish Sushi Thai, Fort Lauderdale

3601 E. Commercial Blvd., Suite #1-2

Ordered shut: Sept. 14, reopened Sept. 15

Why: 12 violations (two high priority), led by six live cockroaches “crawling on floor in prep area next to kitchen” and inside a flip-top cooler in the kitchen, as well as 11 dead roaches beneath a wooden prep table and “on glue trap behind microwave” next to “where clean plates are stored.” Inspectors also spotted employees leaving their beverage and cell phone on the dish rack and prep table, and “improperly sanitizing” dishes and utensils.” State inspectors let Blue Fish reopen Sept. 15 after finding a single minor issue.

Las Carnitas Latin Cuisine, Pompano Beach

Ordered shut: Sept. 16, reopened Sept. 17

Why: Six violations (three high priority), including an infestation of 38 live flies “landing on bagged loaves of bread” and on “closed bottles of sauces and vinegar in the prep area” beside the kitchen, on the wall in the kitchen, as well as landing on closed boxes in storage and “on clean storage containers in dish … storage rack.” (Las Carnitas was last ordered shut back in mid-July for a similar fly infestation.) Inspectors let Las Carnitas reopen Sept. 17 when the state discovered no new violations.

Grecian Delight, Fort Lauderdale

Ordered shut: Sept. 15, reopened Sept. 16

Why: The state spotted eight violations (three high priority) at this Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop eatery, led by 20 rodent droppings “behind shelves inside the storage area” beside the kitchen, and atop an “electrical box next to [the kitchen’s] walk-in cooler.” Inspectors also spotted five dead cockroaches “inside [a] chest freezer” in the storage room. One inspector dinged the restaurant after spotting something strange: 10 40-pound bags “filled with clothing” and “about six mannequins” in the storage room. The restaurant was allowed to reopen Sept. 16 after inspectors found a pair of minor issues.

El Rey de la Medialuna, Hollywood

Ordered shut: Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, reopened Sept. 15

Why: The state logged 14 violations (seven high priority) at this Argentinean restaurant and cafe inside a Marathon gas station, led by the “presence of over 10 dead small insects in a self-service display case containing packaged chorizo, cream cheese and [prepared turkey sandwiches].” Oof. Inspectors also spotted a live fly crawling on the same cream cheese, “under a prep table containing flour, sugar and salt,” “on an empty box of liquid frying oil on the floor,” on the wall and “inside a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.” Naturally, inspectors ordered the restaurant to stop selling and throw out its chorizo, cream cheese and turkey sandwiches “due to temperature abuse.” The state also spotted two dead cockroaches near the kitchen prep area’s floor drain. Inspectors kept the cafe closed Sept. 15 after discovering seven more live flies in storage and the kitchen, but let the business reopen later that day after discovering a pair of small issues.

Chez Tidoc Restaurant, Delray Beach

229 SE Second Ave., Suite #1

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Ordered shut: Sept. 13, reopened Sept. 14

Why: 10 violations (three high priority), led by 35 rodent droppings “mixed in with almond shavings and in peanut butter packages that appeared to be bitten apart” by rodents, as well as in the kitchen storage room and next to the drink cooler at the front counter. Inspectors also spotted a dead cockroach on a wooden pallet in the storage room and food stored in nonfood-grade bags, including fresh herbs in trashcan liners and “beef stored in plastic to-go bags.” The restaurant was ordered to stop selling and toss its “flour containing small insects” due to “adulteration of food product.” (Inspectors last shut down Chez Tidoc nine months ago – on Dec. 15 – for roach problems.) State inspectors let the Haitian restaurant reopen Sept. 14 after discovering a small handful of minor issues.

Sabine Caribbean Restaurant, Delray Beach

Ordered shut: Sept. 15, reopened Sept. 17

Why: Seven violations (three high priority). Inspectors cracked open an air-conditioning closet near the restaurant’s back door and discovered an infestation of 32 cockroaches, who all “scattered toward storage shelves and into walls” as soon as the owner sprayed bug spray. The state also spotted a nonfood-grade bag – a trashcan liner – being “used to cover cooking rice.” The restaurant was allowed to reopen Sept. 17 despite inspectors finding another major (although not vermin-related) issue.

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