Hear how restaurants end up on probation, and what it means
Rodents, roaches and raw sewage are pretty much a diner’s nightmare trifecta, and Lexington health inspectors ran across them all in May and June, including one store that had to be shut down for a week and a half.
Dollar Tree on North Broadway was ordered closed on May 23 after inspectors received a complaint. The initial investigation found “adulteration of food caused by rodent activity,” according to Skip Castleman, environmental health coordinator for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
The inspector found evidence of both rats and mice throughout the store, according to the health department. Food was stored on the floor, which was dirty and in poor repair, according to the inspection report.
Dollar Tree did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The store reopened June 3 after passing a reinspection, Castleman said.
There were also signs of rodent activity at the Lexington East End Market, also known as the Pak ‘n’ Save, on East Third Street. That store was not closed although it was placed on probation.
Roaches were the problem at Sonic on East New Circle Road and at Trinity Baptist Church, both of which were placed on probation but not shut down.
“Observing or seeing evidence of insects (or) rodents will always be a priority item and cause the establishment to fail their inspection,” Castleman said. “Closure occurs if there is evidence that insects or rodents have contaminated food.”
Raw sewage backing up in a tub landed a daycare on the probation: Cherish the Child daycare agreed to cease food service until it could pass reinspection.
One restaurant wasn’t closed but agreed to throw out 43 pounds of potentially hazardous food, including cooked pork, tofu, eggs, miso, noodles and “house made sauce” after the inspector found it in a cooler at an unsafe temperature. Bankara Ramen & Bar, formerly known as Ramen Ya, at 1030 South Broadway was placed on probation.
According to an April 18 post on Ramen Ya’s Facebook page, the ownership has changed along with the name but the health department said that the restaurant permit has not been changed. The inspection that resulted in probation happened on May 23.
The new owner as of April 1, Shawn Xia, said that the walk-in cooler, where the items had been stored, wasn’t getting cold enough. Now, it’s been fixed “and works fine,” he said.
The health department placed 25 restaurants, stores and food service establishments on probation between May 8 and June 19. Altogether, there are more than 180 establishments on the probation list, which dates to 2015.
Here are the latest additions:
▪ Arby’s, 1228 South Broadway, was placed on probation on June 4 after scoring 80. The restaurant was given a notice to correct a plumbing violation after an inspector noted during the inspection that “several employees were not washing their hands on a regular basis.” “I believe this due to poor condition of the sole hand sink located in the kitchen. The plumbing issues at this establishment are creating an environment that does not encourage proper and clean hygienic practices. These issues need to be corrected as soon as possible,” the inspector wrote. According to the report, the sink wasn’t draining so water was dumping into a bucket.
▪ Bankara Ramen & Bar (formerly Ramen Ya), 1030 South Broadway, was placed on probation on May 23 after scoring 75. The inspector found potentially hazardous food; improper sanitizing; dirty knives stored underneath the microwave; and frozen pork thawing at room temperature.
▪ Cherish the Child daycare, 102 Dennis Drive, was placed on probation on May 14. After a complaint, the inspector found raw sewage backing up into a bathtub. According to the report, which was unscored, the facility suspended all food service activity until it could pass a reinspection.
▪ China Kitchen, 3094 Richmond Road, was placed on probation on May 30 after scoring 62. The inspector found no hot water at any sink in the restaurant. The report also noted expired dairy; food not date-marked; potentially hazardous food not kept cold enough or properly thawed; food stored on the floor; improper sanitizing of dishes and wiping cloths; dirty kitchen equipment and knives; and no soap at the sinks, among other things.
▪ Chuck E. Cheese, 1555 New Circle Rd., was placed on probation after a June 4 inspection that scored 75. The inspector found mold in the ice machine and possibly in the ice; potentially hazardous food more than a week old; unhygienic practices including personal drinks on food prep surfaces; a toxic spray bottle stored on top of the salad bar; and chemical spray bottles not labeled.
▪ Cinco de Mayo, 122 West Maxwell St., was placed on probation on June 19 after scoring 77. The inspector found unhygienic practices including an employee eating in the kitchen, employees not properly washing hands and not changing gloves between tasks; improper sanitizing of dishes; toxic chemicals improperly stored (wipe cloth sanitizer buckets next to rice and flour) and used (employees using Scrubbing Bubbles on food contact surfaces), among other violations.
▪ Cracker Barrel, 2220 Elkhorn Road, was placed on probation on June 19 after scoring 88 on food service. The inspector found improper sanitizing of dishes and dirty surfaces in kitchen and elsewhere.
▪ Dollar Tree, 820 North Broadway, was closed and placed on probation after a May 23 inspection based on a complaint. The inspector found evidence of rodents throughout the store and food adulterated by pests. The store reopened June 3.
▪ Donato’s Pizza, 3851 Kenesaw Dr., was placed on probation on May 30 after scoring 83. The inspector found unhygienic practices including personal drinks or food improperly stored; no hair restraints; improper sanitizing; single-service items on the floor; and employee clothing/possessions not stored in lockers.
▪ El Antojito, 565 East New Circle Rd., was placed on probation on June 18 after scoring 75. The inspector found potentially hazardous pork, chicken and beef; no hair restraints in the kitchen; improper sanitizing of wiping cloths; dirty surfaces; and chemicals stored on a slicer, among other violations.
▪ Fazoli’s, 2195 Richmond Road, was placed on probation on June 12 after scoring 84. The inspector found no accurate thermometers in refrigerators and freezers storing potentially hazardous foods; and hygienic practices including improper gloving and personal drinks or food stored improperly, among other things.
▪ Hop Cat, 410 West Short Street, was placed on probation on May 22 after scoring 73. The inspector found improperly stored food; employees touching food with their bare hands; hands not properly washed; no hair restraints; improper sanitizing of dishes and wipe cloths; dirty shelves, coolers and ice machine; dirty utensils stores with clean ones; leaking or slow-draining sinks and more.
▪ Horse Park BP, 4538 Georgetown Road, was placed on probation on May 9 after scoring 74 for food service. The inspector found food that was more than 24 hours old; potentially hazardous food; employees preparing food who were not wearing hair restraints; improper sanitizing; dirty wiping cloths; and toxic items not properly labeled. The convenience store also was selling expired NyQuil Severe and Advil Liqui-gels, which were discarded.
▪ Kitchen on High, 1226, Versailles Road, was placed on probation on May 15 after scoring 83. The inspector found expired dairy; food not properly date-marked; an employee preparing food without proper hair restraint and more.
▪ Kroger, 3101 Richmond Road, was placed on probation on June 5 after scoring 85 for food service. The inspector found mold on the inside of the ice machine in seafood and possibly in the ice; an employee in the seafood/meat department not washing hands between glove changes; dirty kitchen equipment including the microwave in the bakery and the inside of the fresh meat cooler; and dirty floors in the deli, among other things. On the retail inspection, the report noted frozen self-service food wasn’t labeled properly and food was stored on the floor in a walk-in freezer.
▪ Lexington East End Market (also known as Pak ‘N’ Save), 503 East Third Street, was placed on probation on May 28 after scoring 72 for retail food. The inspector noted evidence of rodents; food wasn’t date-marked; hot sausage wasn’t labeled; refrigerators with potentially hazardous food lacked accurate thermometers; employee food was co-mingled in the deep freezer with retail food; cigarette ashes in the storage area; dirty surfaces; no hot water in restroom sink; and dirty toilet facilities.
▪ Local Taco, 315 South Limestone, was placed on probation on May 31 despite scoring 92. The inspector found potentially hazardous beef brisket and personal items stored next to clean utensils and food pans.
▪ McDonald’s, 1620 Leestown Road, was placed on probation on June 12 after scoring 89. The inspector found employees using unsuitable dispensing utensils for handling food; an employee eating, drinking and smoking in an unauthorized area; improper sanitizing of dishes; dirty surfaces including the interior of the freezer, walls and ceiling.
▪ Minit Mart, 3110 Richmond Road, was placed on probation on May 22 after scoring 72 on food service. The inspector noted food wasn’t properly date-marked; improper sanitizing; inside of cappuccino machine dirty; cabinets under the hot dog roller and soda machine dirty; handwashing sink dirty, with no soap or towels. The inspector also found expired medicines for sale.
▪ Papa John’s, 265 Avenue of Champions, was placed on probation on May 31 after scoring 87. The inspector found jalapenos blocking the hand sink; drain flies in the dishwashing and dry storage room; and toxic items stored on and next to food.
▪ Sonic, 234 East New Circle Road, on probation since May 29 after scoring 78. The inspector found roaches in the kitchen, along with expired milk; kitchen equipment in poor repair; dirty surfaces including can opener, ice machine, dairy and beverage machines; utensils stored dirty and in hand sink.
▪ Tot ‘n’ Toddlers, 445 Asbury Lane, was placed on probation on May 8 despite scoring 92. The inspector noted the daycare had no three-compartment sink and no mop sink.
▪ Trinity Baptist Church, 1675 Strader Drive, was placed on probation on June 17 after scoring 89. The inspector found live roaches, among other things.
▪ Waffle House, 2340 Buena Vista Rd., was placed on probation on June 10 after scoring 81. The inspector found potentially hazardous food storage practices (raw beef patties were stored above raw sausage and insect control devices were located over a food prep table); improper sanitizing of wipe cloths; dirty surfaces including equipment; and flies in the prep area and both bathrooms, among other things.
▪ Wild Eggs, 1925 Justice Drive, was placed on probation on June 19 after scoring 80. The inspector found potentially hazardous food; food improperly stored; unhygienic practices (an employee was observed loading dirty dishware into the dish washer and then handling clean dishware without washing hands in between); and dirty surfaces including the can opener, ovens, equipment, cabinets and more, among other violations.