Roaches on wonton chips, live flies on cookies temporarily shut five South Florida restaurants

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jul 12, 2021 3:38 PM

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Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Those weren’t chocolate chips on the Arby’s cookies.

In a banner week for local vermin infestations, five South Florida restaurants temporarily shut down after state inspectors found pests crawling over cookies and cut vegetables, on a loaf of Asiago cheese bread, and inside a bag of wonton chips.

Two fast-food chains — Arby’s in Fort Lauderdale and Panera Bread in Weston — were ordered closed along with Fern Gully Grill in Lauderdale Lakes and Restaurant El Limon in Lake Worth. Kiko Japanese and Thai Restaurant in Plantation, originally shut July 7, remains closed.

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.)

Kiko Japanese and Thai Restaurant

801 S. University Drive, Suite C – 112, Plantation

Ordered shut: July 7, reopened July 8, temporarily shut again July 9, and remains closed as of July 12

Why: Inspectors spotted 19 violations (five high-priority), including seven live “small flying insects” in the kitchen, food storage, bar floor drains and sushi bar, and six live cockroaches “crawling directly on wonton chips in an open container,” on the sushi bar prep table, on a container with in-use utensils, on a container with seasonings in dry storage, and “inside the oven at cook line.” They also spotted 11 dead cockroaches “on the floor beside soy sauce container” and inside a “closed container of flour on dry storage shelf.” The restaurant was ordered to stop selling and toss its flour and wonton chips due to “not being in a wholesome, sound condition.” Kiko was allowed to reopen July 8, although the follow-up inspection found 11 dead roaches “by table with condiments and clean utensils” and near a shelf with cooked wonton and taco shells and 14 more live roaches “behind stove and fryer station,” on a clean pan and atop a reach-in cooler with containers of cooked wonton and tacos. Inspectors shut down Kiko again on July 9 when a third inspection found 21 more dead roaches and 21 live ones crawling under the prep table, sink and “in soda machine empty ice bin behind sushi bar.” The restaurant remains closed as of July 12 until it passes a final inspection.

924 NW 62nd St., Fort Lauderdale

Ordered shut: July 7, allowed to reopen July 8

Why: Seven violations (five high-priority), including 21 live flies landing “on cookies on prep table,” on the meat slicer, on employees’ break table, on cases of syrups, on “a prep table where breads are toasted,” and “on the rim of uncovered container of Buffalo sauce.” Inspectors told Arby’s to toss its cookies because the food was “contaminated by flies” – but the Buffalo sauce, curiously, was allowed to stay. An inspector spotted one employee picking “up [chicken] tenders from floor and discarded, then continued to package fries” without changing gloves or washing hands. The restaurant was allowed to reopen July 8 when inspectors found zero violations.

Ordered shut: July 6, but allowed to reopen the same day

Why: Five violations (two high-priority), including 16 live flies “landing on Asiago cheese bread in bakery area,” landing on a clean spatula, “landing on tomato-basil bread in bakery display area” in the cashier area and on the walls. Inspectors told Panera to stop selling and throw away its Asiago cheese and tomato-basil bread because it wasn’t “in a wholesome, sound condition.” The restaurant was allowed to reopen the same day when inspectors spotted one minor issue.

3450 N. State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes

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Ordered shut: July 7, but allowed to reopen the same day

Why: Inspectors saw seven violations (four high-priority), including 35 live flies landing on to-go containers, cases of soda and water bottles in dry storage, on pots, inside a “trash can [filled with] rice,” and inside the kitchen, landing on “cutting board, cut onions, carrots, potatoes and cooked pork.” Inspectors ordered the restaurant to throw out its cut onions, carrots, potatoes and cooked pork due “to adulteration of food product.” The restaurant was allowed to reopen the same day.

Ordered shut: July 7 and July 8, allowed to reopen July 8

Why: 10 violations (three high-priority), such as six live roaches crawling inside a three-gallon box of bottled water in food storage area, “crawling on wall behind chest freezer” and behind an upright cooler. Inspectors also spotted three dead roaches beneath the hand sink. The restaurant remained closed July 8 when a follow-up inspection found 25 more dead roaches and 15 live ones “crawling on wall in hallway,” and on the wall “by espresso machine.” El Limon was allowed to reopen the same day when a third inspection found only one basic violation.

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