‘Pipes leaking and spraying water’: Six South Florida restaurants ordered shut for sanitation, roaches in salt

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Sep 13, 2021 4:05 PM

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Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

After five months of sifting through the pileup of weekly restaurant fails, naturally, we just assumed we had acquired stomachs of steel.

Nope. We just hadn’t met Tacos La Placita, one of six eateries temporarily ordered shut last week by the state.

Other restaurants ordered closed include Asian Corner Thai Sushi in Fort Lauderdale, Marco’s Deli in Hollywood, Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Miami, The Food Palace in Greenacres and The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. in Jupiter.

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.)

Ordered shut: Sept. 8, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, reopened Sept. 13

Why: 13 violations (four high priority). Totally unconcerned about their sodium intake, 26 live cockroaches were spotted “crawling inside a bag of salt inside a storage cabinet” in the kitchen. They were also seen scuttling across the floors, on cabinet walls “where bags of dried rice and beans are stored,” and even a “clean cutting board stored above [kitchen] sink” – which the restaurant later sanitized. Meanwhile, inspectors also spotted 10 roaches on the floor and inside a kitchen storage cabinet (but not touching actual food). Inspectors also saw one employee – who apparently mistook the kitchen for the break room – storing their personal “hairbrush, cell phone and wallet on cutting board.” (The restaurant later sanitized the cutting board.) The restaurant also was ordered to stop selling and toss its cooked yuca, pork, ropa vieja, tamales, yellow rice and beans “due to temperature abuse,” as well as the tainted bag of salt. The state’s second inspection on Sept. 10 kept Marco’s closed after it found more dead cockroaches “on box of fryer oil in rear kitchen” and on a “case of Modelo beer,” along with two more live roaches crawling beneath “the ice machine in dining-room area.” Inspectors closed the restaurant a third time on Sept. 11 – without mentioning why on its report – but finally let the deli reopen Sept. 13 after discovering zero new violations.

Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Miami

5829 SW 73rd St., Suite 8

Ordered shut: Sept. 9, reopened Sept. 10

Why: State inspectors spotted 19 violations (three high priority), led by 15 live flies spotted in the bar “landing on the plate with sugar and chili powder,” and swarming around the “drink station where servers picked up foods from the kitchen.” Naturally, inspectors ordered the restaurant to throw out the sugar and spices “due to adulteration of food product.” Inspectors let Tacocraft reopen Sept. 10 with a handful of small violations.

Asian Corner Thai Sushi, Fort Lauderdale

Ordered shut: Sept. 8, reopened Sept. 9

Why: Seven violations (four high priority), such as 26 rodent droppings “on chairs stacked in [kitchen] storage area,” “on shelving with canned goods and small appliances” and “at front counter sushi area” beneath the canned drinks. The restaurant also was ordered to stop selling three containers of evaporated milk because the cans were dented. Despite finding another major violation during its second visit Sept. 9, the state let the restaurant reopen that day.

Tacos La Placita, Lake Worth

Ordered shut: Sept. 8, reopened Sept. 9

Why: Ho, boy. State inspectors recorded 20 violations (eight high priority), but let’s start with these glaring fragments from the report: “No sanitizer of any kind available,” “no hot running water,” “plumbing system in disrepair,” “pipes leaking and spraying water” and “handwash sink not available for employee use.” The plumbing woes looked so dire, inspectors watched as one employee decided to “wash their hands in a container of solid water” rather than an approved sink. Because the taco truck “was using utensils that were not sanitized to serve the public,” inspectors ordered Tacos La Placita to throw out an unspecified amount of “ready-to-eat food.” Meanwhile, at least seven live flies were spotted landing on limes, radishes, salsa, beef and on the prep table itself. The state ordered the food truck to toss these items, as well, along with more cooked beef, after an employee admitted that their “boss cuts the meat at their house.” Despite finding three more major violations during inspectors’ second visit — and without any indication the restaurant sanitized its kitchen — the taco food truck was allowed to reopen Sept. 9.

The Food Palace, Greenacres

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Ordered shut: Sept. 8, reopened Sept. 9

Why: 11 violations (four high priority), including an infestation of nine live cockroaches crawling “on bag of rice,” “on liquid fry oil” and around the rear door, as well as nine dead roaches in storage area and on a “front kitchen shelf near door to front counter.” The Caribbean restaurant reopened Sept. 9 with a pair of minor violations.

The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., Jupiter

Ordered shut; Sept. 8, reopened Sept. 9

Why: The state found six violations (four high priority), led by 11 live flies spotted “inside muffin display case,” and swarming around the soda dispenser machine, prep area and kitchen. Of course, the state ordered the bagel shop to stop selling and toss its muffins “due to adulteration of food product,” and throw out its chicken salad and cream cheese “due to temperature abuse.” The bagel chain reopened Sept. 9 when inspectors saw zero new issues.

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