Hear how restaurants end up on probation, and what it means
If there is a season for roaches, this must be it: Last month, Lexington health inspectors found them at restaurants all over town.
At Broomwagon on North Limestone, at Chick-fil-A at Fayette Mall, at Supreme Hibachi Buffet on East New Circle, at Shiloh Baptist Church’s Kids Cafe on East Fifth St., at McDonald’s on Harrodsburg and at the Dollar Tree on North Broadway.
The Dollar Tree, which was closed in May after an inspection found rats and mice had been in the food, was closed again on July 16 after a follow-up inspection found more mice droppings throughout the store and roaches under shelves and in the back storage area.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department issued an immediate closure order, according to Skip Castleman, environmental health coordinator. The health department met with the store’s management on Aug. 5 “to discuss their issues and LFCHD expectations prior to conducting a follow-up inspection,” he said in a statement.
The Dollar Tree remained closed until Aug. 7, to effect repairs and exterminate. They re-opened after receiving a 99 on their follow-up inspection; the store, which sells grocery staples, will be inspected again after approximately 30 days to ensure their issues remain corrected, Castleman said. The store remains on health department probation.
Meanwhile, the health department placed 22 more restaurants and other food service establishments, including grocery and convenience stores, on probation between June 20 and Aug. 26. The new additions include a classic UK hangout, mall food court favorites, a Kroger sushi counter, big name fast-food chains and a longtime Main Street local restaurant.
Since 2015, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has placed restaurants and food service providers on probation when they fail an inspection with a score of 84 or lower, or when they have a critical violation or priority item that cannot be immediately remedied.
Critical violations and priority items are those deemed by the Food & Drug Administration to have the highest potential to affect the public health adversely, such as a lack of hand-washing or improper dish sanitizing.
Restaurants on probation are inspected three times a year instead of two; the increased scrutiny is designed to catch potential health hazards, said Luke Mathis, team leader for environmental health.
Inspections are a snapshot of a restaurant or food-service establishment at a particular time but the health department uses the probation list to target those places most likely to pose a health risk.
Restaurants come off probation after they pass two consecutive regular inspections without any critical violations.
There are more than 180 restaurants, more than 10 percent of the city’s 1,500, on the health department probation list. Here are the latest additions:
Restaurants added to probation
▪ Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, 3401 Nicholasville Rd., was placed on probation on Aug. 22 despite scoring 91. The inspector found a cooler with a temperature above safe levels; food including deli meats and hot dogs not properly date marked; hair restraints not worn by all food service staff; and improper sanitizing.
▪ Broomwagon, 800 North Limestone, was placed on probation on Aug. 15 after scoring 80. The inspector found live and dead roaches; employee drink and belongings on food prep surface; employee handling food with bare hands; no raw/undercooked food consumer advisory; reach-in cooler not maintaining temperature; employee handling food without hair/beard restraints; improper sanitizing; and proper food safety knowledge not demonstrated.
▪ Burger King, 2217 Nicholasville Rd., was placed on probation on Aug. 6 despite scoring 91. The inspector found improperly stored chemicals; a fryer basket handle with loose plastic; dirty shelves, floors and food equipment; condensation on ceiling vents dripping onto floor and surfaces; and numerous flying insects (drain flies and gnats) by the mop sink and back entrance.
▪ Charlie Brown’s, 816 Euclid Ave., was placed on probation on July 18 after scoring 75. The inspector found employees handling food without gloves; food stored uncovered; improper sanitizing; improper food refrigeration; food not marked to indicate use-by date; hair/beard restraints missing; improper sanitizing practices; “accumulation of soil” on non-food contact surfaces; no mop sink; sewage and waste water not properly disposed of; and dirty floors, walls and ceiling.
▪ Chick-fil-A, 3401 Nicholasville Rd., was placed on probation on Aug. 26 despite scoring 96. The inspector found roaches by the front service area and the dry storage area; floors dirty throughout and in poor repair; and shelving dirty by the three-compartment sink.
▪ Circle K, 3470 Richmond Road, was placed on probation on July 26 despite scoring 89 for food service and 91 for retail. The inspector found no employee health policy; inadequate hand-washing facilities, including no soap; thermometers either missing or broken; improper sanitizing procedures; dirty counters and floors; expired dairy for sale; and food product stored on the floor.
▪ Country Cookin’ by George, 1801 Alexandria Dr., was placed on probation on Aug. 15 despite scoring 90. The inspector found improper sanitizing; potentially hazardous food not date marked; “accumulation of soil” on surfaces; and floors and walls in poor repair and unclean.
▪ Joseanne’s, 3449 Buckhorn Dr., was placed on probation on Aug. 21 despite scoring 86. The inspector found employee personal drink improperly stored; potentially hazardous foods; improper sanitization; and a dirty microwave.
▪ Kids Cafe at Shiloh Baptist Church, 237 East Fifth St., was placed on probation on June 25 despite scoring 95. The inspector found roaches.
▪ Kroger sushi counter, 1600 Leestown Rd., was placed on probation on Aug. 23 despite scoring 94. The inspector found improper sanitizing; employee not properly gloving or changing gloves between tasks; and no thermometer in the reach-in cooler.
▪ McDonald’s, 2012 Harrodsburg Rd., was placed on probation on Aug. 22 despite scoring 95. The inspector found a a live roach on the wall behind the smoothie machine; thermometer missing from the small refrigerator near the smoothie machine; single-service items stored on a wet and dirty surface under the drink machine; smoothie machine, floors and drains behind it dirty; and a few flies were observed at drink stations.
▪ Minit Mart 905 South Limestone, was placed on probation on July 30 despite scoring 89 for food service and 90 for retail. The inspector found employee not washing hands before working with food; no soap and paper towels at the hand sink; tuna salad and chicken salad past the sell-by date; expired medication; improperly stored chemicals; dirty shelves and soda machine dispenser; and floors in poor repair.
▪ Minit Mart, 4560 Iron Works Pike, was placed on probation on Aug. 19 after scoring 81 on food service and 88 on retail. The inspector found an “excessive amount of flies throughout” the establishment; expired dairy for sale; employee drinks stores on food prep surfaces; no towels at hand sink or lavatory; improper sanitizing practices including utensils stored in sanitizer solution; improper thawing method being used for food; no hair/beard restraints; “accumulation of soil” on surfaces; and dirty floors.
▪ Newk’s Eatery, 2369 Richmond Rd., was placed on probation on July 31 after scoring 84 on food service and 89 on retail. The inspector found mold in the ice machine; inside of reach-in refrigeration units was dirty; accurate thermometers missing; hair/beard restraints missing; and dirty kitchen equipment and floors.
▪ Rally’s, 2975 Richmond Rd., was placed on probation on Aug. 26 despite scoring 88. The inspector found potentially hazardous food not kept cold enough; lack of properly refrigeration or thermometers; and floors, shelves and ceiling vent dirty.
▪ Richmond Place Rehab & Health, 2770 Palumbo Dr., was placed on probation on July 29 despite scoring 98. The inspector found insects in the kitchen.
▪ Supreme Hibachi Buffet, 180 East New Circle Road, was placed on probation on Aug. 5 after scoring 90. The inspector found a live roach on the ice machine lid; no trash can by the handwashing station; potentially hazardous sliced produce; food stored uncovered in multiple coolers; dirty shelves, ice machine, floors, walls and vents.
▪ Taste of Thai, 101 West Main Street, was placed on probation on June 20 after scoring 83. The inspector found potentially hazardous food not properly date marked; improper thawing methods being used for potentially hazardous foods; food stored on floor in basement and unprotected; food contact surfaces dirty, including a heavy build-up of grease on fryer baskets; improper sanitizing procedures; hand soap either not provided or watered down at the sink; floors in poor repair in kitchen and walls and ceiling dirty.
▪ Texas Roadhouse, 3030 Lakecrest Circle, was placed on probation on Aug. 15 despite scoring 94. The inspector found improper sanitizing, including the dish washing machine, which wasn’t sanitizing; thermometers missing in some coolers; and an unrestrained beard.
▪ Wendy’s, 3010 Richmond Road, was placed on probation on July 18 after scoring 86. The inspector found no written employee health policy; an employee drink stored improperly in the walk-in cooler; improper sanitizing practices; missing thermometers in refrigeration/freezer food storage; and more.
▪ The Willows at Hamburg, 2531 Old Rose Bud Rd., was placed on probation on June 24 despite scoring 89. The inspector noted expired heavy whipping cream; spoiled produce; improper sanitation practices; dirty ice machine and ice dispenser on soda machine; utensils stored in dirty containers; and dust on the ceiling vents.
▪ Winburn Cafe, 1100 Winburn Dr., was placed on probation on July 11 despite scoring 95. The inspector found no consumer advisory for raw/undercooked food; eggs improperly stored and equipment not maintained in good repair.