Hear how restaurants end up on probation, and what it means
Nine restaurants or food service establishments were added to the list of those on probation by the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department between mid-October and mid-November.
They include a day care, a deli chain, a national burger and shake chain, a popular local Mexican restaurant and three convenience stores.
There are more than 100 restaurants on the probation list. You can look up any restaurant or commercial kitchen (even schools, day cares, hospitals and nursing homes) in the Herald-Leader’s online database of inspection reports.
The health department puts restaurants and food service providers on probation if they score below 85 on an inspection or have critical violations such as dishwashers that aren’t sanitizing utensils, plates, equipment or employees using unsanitary procedures such as not washing their hands or using gloves properly, placing personal items where they can transfer germs to food or not wearing hair restraints.
A score of 60 or below means automatic shutdown. There were no restaurants shut down for violations during the last reporting period, according to the health department.
Critical violations are those with the most potential to harm the public health. The best weapons against food-borne illnesses, such as hepatitis A or the norovirus outbreak that closed the Fayette Mall food court and Chick-fil-A this summer, are hand washing and proper hygiene, health department inspectors advise.
Once a restaurant is placed on probation, inspections are stepped up to every four months instead of every six months. If a restaurant passes regular inspection with no critical violations twice in a row, it comes off of probation.
Nine restaurants or food service establishments came off the probation list after inspections in the same time period: El Gran Tako; Kentucky Blended Nutrition; Shakespeare & Co. on Short Street; Kroger on Hartland Parkway; Mellow Mushroom on South Upper; Proud Mary BBQ; Qdoba on Richmond Road; Rally’s on South Broadway; and Rose Manor, a nursing home on Cleveland Road.
Here are the latest additions to the health department’s probation watch list, as of mid-November:
▪ Ali Baba Grocery, 412 Southland Drive, was placed on probation after a Nov. 5 inspection that scored 82 for food service violations including foods at potentially hazardous food temperatures; unhygienic practices including forks and spoons stored on the floor, no hand towels in employee restroom, a fly swatter stored with single-serve items above food prep area and mop heads stored on food trays; and toxic practices such as storing sanitizer above food prep areas. The establishment is also a retail food store and had serious violations there as well, including unlabeled raw meat, cutting board in bad repair and employee water bottles stored on food prep areas.
▪ Blue Skillet, 213 East Seventh Street, was placed on probation on Oct. 22 for potentially hazardous food, including room-temperature seafood and pork chops sitting in water; raw seafood and beef improperly stored above ready-to-eat foods in reach-ins; no hot water; dirty floors; and a score of 84.
▪ Faith Lutheran Church Child Care Ministries, 1000 Tates Creek Road, was placed on probation after a Nov. 15 inspection found evidence of rodents and potentially hazardous food in cooler (not date-marked.) The day care scored 92.
▪ Jason’s Deli, 134 Malabu Drive, was placed on probation for numerous violations after an Oct. 30 inspection that scored 83 for food stored on the floor of the freezer; personal drinks stores in food prep surfaces, not shielded with a lid and straw, and above food product; employees preparing food without adequate hair restraints; food/non-food contact surfaces “have accumulation of soil” in drawers and tracks of cooling racks; no paper towels at hand sink in prep area; and vents with “heavy accumulation of dust.”
▪ Maria’s Kitchen #2, 895 North Broadway, was placed on probation after scoring 69 in a Nov. 13 inspection. Health department inspectors found potentially hazardous food (held more than 24 hours and not date-marked); employees preparing food without wearing hair restraints; no soap or paper towels at the hand sink, which was blocked from employees; toxic items improperly stored and not labeled and employees dumping mop water outside. Officials held a post-inspection conference with owners.
▪ Minit Mart, 1975 Nicholasville Road, was placed on probation, even though the convenience store wasn’t serving food because the hot dog machine wasn’t working, after a Nov. 2 inspection found unsafe food items, dirty floors and mop bucket water not discarded, among other things. The inspection scored an 89. The convenience store also had serious violations on the retail side, including expired medicine.
▪ Skyline BP, 1065 Newtown Pike, was placed on probation after scoring 80 on an Oct. 31 inspections found multiple violations including improper sanitation and hygiene practices including employee drinks stored on prep surfaces and coats hanging on shelves with clean dishes; toxic items were stored next to the clean dishes.
▪ Steak ‘N Shake, 1832 Alysheba Way, was placed on probation after a score of 78, for a Nov. 8 inspection that found potentially hazardous food that wasn’t kept hot enough; ice cream scoops stored in standing water; same cloths used for raw and ready-to-eat items; an “accumulation of soil” on surfaces throughout the prep area; flies in the drink station area; dirty floors, walls, ceiling and equipment and poorly maintained plumbing.
▪ SuperAmerica/Speedway, 3393 Tates Creek Road, was placed on probation after a Nov. 14 inspection found signs of rodents, including gnawed insulation on the floor; flies in the food prep area; employees preparing food without hair restraints; dirty cabinets and food utensil bins; unemptied garbage; dirty floors and walls. The food service inspection score was 89.