County closes another kitchen,

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Dr of BBQ
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2006/09/01 10:22:35 (permalink)

County closes another kitchen,

They just combined the city and county health departments here and the new inspection process has closed 5 restaurants in the last 2 months. This is from today's newspaper.

County closes another kitchen, Franny's used to get high marks from city

The kitchen at Franny's restaurant and bar has been closed for more than a week since Sangamon County restaurant inspectors discovered a substantial mouse problem throughout the establishment.
The bar remains open, but all food was ordered destroyed, and no food preparation is allowed until the county Department of Public Health gives the all-clear, said Jim Henricks, the department's director of environmental health. A follow-up inspection is scheduled for today.
Owner Kevin Ausmus, closed the kitchen after the Aug. 24 inspection turned up 36 violations, 16 of which were considered "critical" and required immediate correction. The restaurant received a total of 94 demerit points, with zero being a perfect score under the county's scoring system, Henricks said.
Inspectors noted nine rodent and insect violations. Mouse droppings were spotted throughout the kitchen area - including on shelves above the food-preparation area, on a cutting board and on a sanitizing cloth.
In the basement, a dead mouse was found behind a cooling unit, and mouse droppings were seen on food items. Mouse holes or other entry points were found in multiple locations.
"The main problem is the mice," said Henricks, who visited the building last week. "It was one of the most serious I've seen in 30 years."
Other violations included the presence of spoiled steak and soup, a rusty and bulging can of an unidentified food product, unlabeled food, medication stored in an improper location and gnats behind the bar and in the basement, according to a food service inspection report.
All food in the building was supposed to be destroyed by Aug. 28, although some items still remained in a freezer when inspectors returned that day, Henricks said.
Franny's also was ordered to clear out a "massive accumulation of unnecessary items" in the basement by today and to arrange a visit from rodent- and insect-control professionals.
Since the merger of the city and county health departments on March 1, some local restaurant owners believe food service inspections have gotten tougher.
In early March, Franny's was cited by city restaurant inspectors for two critical and 11 non-critical violations. Another inspection later that month found five critical and 14 non-critical violations.
In August and December 2005, however, Franny's received gold certificates from city inspectors for consecutive inspection scores of 95 or higher (the city used a different scoring system than the county) with no critical violations.
"If they get the mouse situation cleared up, get all the outer openings closed and they show they can keep the place clean, then we'll let them open for limited food operation," such as serving pre-packaged frozen food, Henricks said.
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    HollyDolly
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 10:49:32 (permalink)
    Boy is that sad!!!! Haven't heard of any place around here that has been so bad.The local tv stations here do their reports on restaraunts,called Behind the Kitchen Door,and Channel4 calls theirs Kitchen Cops. At WOAI Channel 4,Cable Channel 3,they give out the Blue Plate Award,to restaraunts who have perfect scores,no violations.
    The tv stations here in San Antonio will go back to a place to see if the violations have been corrected,with cameras rolling.they have been kicked out of a few places when asking about what a restaraunt is doing about fixing their problems with the health inspection report.
    #2
    rbpalmer
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 11:32:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Dr of BBQ

    and mouse droppings were seen on food items.


    YIKES!
    #3
    Ashphalt
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 12:52:49 (permalink)
    Reminds me of the 70's re-make of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Effectively the chef and health inspector go back and forth, "Caper!" "Rat turd!" "Caper!" "Rat turd!" "Caper!" "Eat it!"
    #4
    Fieldthistle
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 13:34:20 (permalink)
    Hello All,
    When I was a boy of 6 or so, my mother discovered Morton's Frozen Pot Pies. My brother, 5 years
    senior of me, loved them with a passion. Our family budget was limited, so Pop and Mom bought
    enough for us to have one each weekly. My brother told me he read a report that the government
    discover mouse hair and turds in frozen pot pies, so I refused to eat them. Guess who ate my pot pies.
    I was so gullible.
    When I worked at a catering dept. at the local university our problem was roaches, not mice or rats.
    We usually had the health inspectors visit us only once a year. They need more people.
    I am grateful for the work they do.
    And once, eating at a Chi-Chi's restaurant in Charlottesvile, Va., a dead mouse fell out of an
    air vent onto the floor next to a booth. The family sitting in the booth, freaked, but calm down
    once they had their meal comped. Yes, they continued to finish their meal. I stopped eating my food
    and ordered a liquid meal of beer. My meal was not comped.
    In Virginia, we have a web site that details the health inspectors reports on restaurants, schools, and
    bars. For my local area go to http://www.healthspace.ca/Clients/VDH/CShenandoah/CShenandoah_Website.nsf
    Take Care,
    Fieldthistle
    #5
    Sundancer7
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 14:28:06 (permalink)
    I was at a BBQ place in Wacko , TX. We were enjoying our BBQ and a huge rate ran out over the BBQ area. It scared hell out of everyone. My colleague could not continue the meal. We left without paying.

    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN
    #6
    pdxyyz
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 15:52:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by HollyDolly

    they give out the Blue Plate Award,to restaraunts who have perfect scores,no violations.
    T


    Obviously a perfect score doesn't mean a whole lot if the bar is set very low.

    #7
    ann peeples
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 16:24:26 (permalink)
    I was in an all night diner years ago, and right after the waitress set my food down, a HUGE cockroach ran across my food-I do not have to tell you my reaction.........
    #8
    CajunKing
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 17:19:29 (permalink)
    Unfortunately our county health dept is not the most shall we say educated bunch. Their inspections don't really have much bite.

    A few years ago we had a chinese restaurant open, and during the county health inspections, an opossum walked in the restaurant through an open back door. All the inspector said was "you'd better close that door" and then gave them a 99 out of 100. The 1 point deduction was for the sink in the bathroom leaking all over the floor.

    Since then I don't put muc stock in our health department.
    #9
    baconman
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 18:01:26 (permalink)
    The owners had to know they had a long standing problem, the diseases spread by mice and rats can be fearsome,

    Keep them closed, they obviously don't care about their customers health.
    #10
    Ashphalt
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/01 18:29:48 (permalink)
    Fieldthistle,

    My Sister, four years my senior, tried that sort of thing on me with a number of items. For some reason this 6-7 year-old boy was not phased and delighted in eating these delicacies in front of her. Probably the only time I turned the tables on her. BTW - good to hear from you.

    Also, the stories may be gruesome (and I have a couple of my own), but it's good to hear people as a whole in favor of shutting down even a loved restaurant for "gross" violations of health codes.
    #11
    V960
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/06 08:58:32 (permalink)
    We have a local TV station that runs a weekly three or four minute segment about the best and worst restaurant scores. some of the violations are down right comical.
    #12
    enginecapt
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 00:44:13 (permalink)
    Any of you do as I do, which is determine whether or not you'll enter a place by the state of the inspection placard in its window? So Cal counties use A, B, or C, and it's printed in a huge 8"x8" font for visibility from the parking lot.

    A is no problem, B is iffy for me but I'll go in if I know they have good food, and C is a bar to entry as far as I'm concerned.

    EDIT: If there's anything lower than a C, I'm not aware of it.
    #13
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 08:47:06 (permalink)
    great topic!
    i have always been weary about dining out, mostly due to my distrust in the inspection teams. one should always feel safe, that the inspectors are doing their job diligently, and thoroughly. but when you walk into a place and pick out several alarming infractions, befor even being seated, you kinda wonder what sort of russian roulette is being played here. i for one, am scared to death, of eating at a new place. and an old one too, for that matter.
    our inspectors here have come into out place, used the facilities, chatted, and left, scoring us a hundred. all the while i am looking around seeing several infracions at my own place, that they never even say anything about. then on the other hand, the supervisor of inspectors came in a couple times. we were once instructed by her to remove cardboard box from the fry oil containers, when it clearly states on the container not to remove jug from the cardboard. and this, was the supervisor. that makes me even more queezy... i feel if the inspectors dont toughen up, we may be in for a pandemic..


    #14
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 08:50:12 (permalink)
    oh yea, good job for the county that got smart, and took over the city inspections... where was that?
    #15
    Squidly
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 09:26:31 (permalink)
    Somewhat off topic but related:

    I was stationed aboard a submarine that made a port visit to La Spezia, Italy back in the early '80s. We took on fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, as well as some canned goods. A short time later we developed a huge cockroach problem. They were all over the forward part of the boat and into everything. They were so bad you had to pull the covers back on your bunk and check for them before you crawled in. They would run across your body as you were trying to sleep. We completed the cruise this way.

    When we finally got back to home port the Supply Officer and his department ended up off loading nearly everything forward of the reactor compartment and fumigating. Took a couple of weeks. There was no deploying with that kind of problem.
    #16
    Dr of BBQ
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 15:58:11 (permalink)
    BassRocker Springfield Illinois was the city where the county took over the city health department. The city fought it for about 6 months even after a referendum passed by 70% of the voters

    Squidly . I was stationed aboard a submarine that made a port visit to La Spezia, Italy back in the early '80s.

    Squidly you’re a bubblehead? I served on the USS Hunley AS 31 in Scotland (2-1/2 years) in the late 60s. I was a EM 4 when I left to go to shore patrol duty in Charleston S.C.. You guys got the best food in the Navy. We used to trade anything and everything to the guys on the boats for the fresh strawberries, cashews, steaks, all the goodies you guys got. I imagine a roach problem on a boat would be a nightmare. What boat were you on? I assume you were home ported in Guam?
    #17
    Howdy Doodat
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 18:50:51 (permalink)
    This City vs County health departments is a big-time political football around here. I have worked closely with both sets of inspectors and found the CITY inspectors to be friendly, helpful - while being no-nonsense, and with a sense of proportion. The COUNTY minions, OTOH, seem to think that their mission in life is to be Food Nazis. Sort of "Ve haff ziss rule book. You vill OBEY!!!"

    Rules are nice and many are common sense. And certainly standards must be maintained. But, I saw a violation issued for a plastic bucket lid which had some debris on it - with a mesh bag of onions being placed inside the bucket to protect the onions from getting dirty. According to the inspector - had the mesh bag of onions been out of the bucket and on the floor no violation would have issued. What a bunch of maroons. And that is typical of what I mean by they lack a sense of proportion. Just go blindly by the rule-book. Well, so did Adolph Eichmann.

    The writer of the article has done his best to make the city inspectors look like a bunch of fumbling incompetents - without saying so in actual words. He mentions that the city inspectors gave the bar high marks and in another place notes that it received a gold certificate for consistently good scores (95% or higher) on subsequent inspections. Thereby implying that Franny's was given a pass on egregious violations.

    If you don't look close you will miss that the CITY health department cited the place for 2 critical and 11 non-critical violations and a follow-up inspection in the same month found 5 critical and 14 non-critical problems. The following month the county took over the health inspection chores with their "new, tougher attitude." And it took the COUNTY health department all the way until SEP-freaking-TEMBER to come back around for a re-inspect on a place that was clearly circling the drain. Give me a break. " />

    Health inspections or no - I would not eat there, nor would I recommend the place to anyone I cared about. Their food sucked both times I was conned into going there and their chilli was greasy (not always a bad thing), watery and flavourless (which is ALWAYS a bad thing).
    #18
    Big Sausage
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 20:37:28 (permalink)
    My wife and myself use to do inspections for Mobile Travel Guide some years ago, If you see some of the conditions of kitchens in eating establishments you would eat at home a lot more often. For me a quick check of the restroom will usually tell you how the kitchen is maintained.
    #19
    essvee
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/07 21:20:16 (permalink)
    I really wish that people who post items of this type, or just say 'around these parts,' would state where they're writing from. Other boards I've been on have the poster's location in the same spot as what their board/title status is, etc. What say you, Sundancer et al?
    #20
    Howdy Doodat
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/08 07:52:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by essvee

    I really wish that people who post items of this type, or just say 'around these parts,' would state where they're writing from. Other boards I've been on have the poster's location in the same spot as what their board/title status is, etc. What say you, Sundancer et al?


    This particular (original) article comes to you from beautiful Spring-A-Leak, Illinois. Home of Abraham Lincoln (our main industry). In the shadow of the Steal Mill that is our state's S.O.G.

    Izzat better, now?
    #21
    Dr of BBQ
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/08 18:52:15 (permalink)
    Sorry Howdy Doudy but I don’t think that’s the way it happened. After Sangamon County took over the Springfield Health Department, the original city health department inspector continued to be the inspector for the businesses they had been inspecting. It seems in speaking with the department, today that many of the former files held by the city didn’t get brought into the system after the switch, so the County Health Department didn't have any past records for awhile.Then a county inspector went with the city inspector as part of a new formal training program to re-inspect all of the restaurants that were formally under the jurisdiction of the old city health department.That took some time. But all of that’s pretty unimportant, I work with the County Health Department and because I was in a BBQ contest locally I’ve been inspected several times now and I find the Sangamon County Health Department very professional.
    I also have to take issue with your apparent disdain for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and the millions of visitors it will bring to Springfield Illinois. It’s my hometown and certainly not without it’s faults but a good town just the same.
    #22
    Howdy Doodat
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/08 20:17:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Dr of BBQ

    Sorry Howdy Doudy but I don�t think that�s the way it happened.


    Do try and get the name right. It's DOODAT

    quote:
    I work with the County Health Department and because I was in a BBQ contest locally I�ve been inspected several times now and I find the Sangamon County Health Department very professional.


    I also work with the County Health Department as I cook in Chilli Cook Offs. And I found the county inspectors act as if they had had a stick kicked up their arse. Since the merger we have been getting the city inspectors we worked with in past and they both understand that we are not going to re-use those dirty pots and pans at the cook off but take them home and wash them before re-use and that we pretty much self police cook offs and cooks. They do their jobs with alacrity and efficiency, in a pleasant manner. Unlike the original county inspectors.

    quote:
    I also have to take issue with your apparent disdain for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and the millions of visitors it will bring to Springfield Illinois. It�s my hometown and certainly not without it�s faults but a good town just the same.



    I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you over the politics of tourism. I admire Ol' Abe. But, making the business of shucking tourists for every farthing in their wallets draws my disdain. The city fathers never (or damned seldom) mention mention the advances in scholarship engendered in the Library and Museum. Rather they issue figures about the bottom line sheckels brought into town by Abe and anything to do with Abe.

    I agree that this is a good town. But, it could be better had not the city fathers (and I don't mean the politicians in the public eye), with malice aforethougt, driven our thriving smokestack industry to the friendly labour/tax climate of the south or overseas. Leaving us, of course, with a paper shuffling and tourist shucking economy. It is to weep.

    This used to be a 24 hour a day town. Nowadays they roll up the sidewalks about 9:30 and pound the town into the ground by 11 pm. Just try to get a decent meal in this town after ... say 9 pm. The only saving spot of that is that the restaurant at the truck stop on Sangamon Ave is, if not a three star Michelin location, light years better than Denny's and a few steps ahead of the Parkway Cafe.

    If you have any suggestions for decent food in a 24 hour venue I'd be interested in hearing them.


    #23
    Dr of BBQ
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/08 22:37:28 (permalink)
    Sorry Howdy
    But you quoted 89 words and wrote 352 words of which 129 were directed to the original post. (my system counts what ever is highlighted) I don’t think your going to find many 24 hour a day restaurants in a town with a population of 125 K but that’s not the topic. Start one that relates to your subject: Where’s the best town to eat at 3:00AM or where’s the best food in a 24 hour location. I don’t know what ever you want But I was looking for a good discussion on food (health inspectors) and the food (health) inspection process..
    Jack@DrofBBQ.com
    #24
    Howdy Doodat
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/09 08:34:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Dr of BBQ

    Sorry Howdy
    But you quoted 89 words and wrote 352 words of which 129 were directed to the original post. (my system counts what ever is highlighted) I don�t think your going to find many 24 hour a day restaurants in a town with a population of 125 K but that�s not the topic. Start one that relates to your subject: Where�s the best town to eat at 3:00AM or where�s the best food in a 24 hour location. I don�t know what ever you want But I was looking for a good discussion on food (health inspectors) and the food (health) inspection process..
    Jack@DrofBBQ.com


    Oh, I see. You're a moderator?

    To answer your (specious) points ...

    I wasn't aware that it was all about numbers.

    When the (official) population of good ol' Spring-A-Leak was 80,000 there were literally dozens of casual dining restaurants that were 24 hours per day operations to accomodate the shift workers from the factories. In the downtown area alone there were Harold's, Blue Nook, Thompsons, three Roy Conn's Grill(s), Jack Robinsons, Carrigan's Grill, the coffee shop at The Bowl and the restaurants at the bus station and the GM&O (train - now Amtrak) depot.

    I would be more than happy to start a new topic. But, you were the one that flew off the straight and narrow taking me to task for a simple observation that our town lives off Abraham Lincoln and State gummint.

    I merely responded - and reminded you that there are reasons that we are stuck vacuuming tourists pockets for whatever lolly is in there.

    And finally, I WAS discussing health inspectors and the health inspection process. I suspect what you were looking for was sycophants to agree with you that the city inspection process was all bad and the Food Nazis from the county are all good. Which I will never do, having had to deal with both sets of inspectors - as well as understanding the politics behind the usurpation. It's sort of a "you say po-TAY-to and I say po-TAH-to" thing.

    Now, let me ask you. Do you own a restaurant or make your living in the hospitality industry?
    #25
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/09 08:58:59 (permalink)
    keep it civil, gentlemen!
    dr q... wow! we got alot in common.. i was stationed on the uss hunley also... but a few years(decades) after you(80's). in scotland, of course. she had just been refit in charleston, and left with 6 new big ole diesel engines. when she go to dunoon(two week trip), she was being towed. she had two major engine fires along the way, and the rest just crapped out. took a long long time, to restore her strength, but she never lost her ability to rust them anchor chains..heehee
    i stayed there almost 4 yrs. got out as ic2. r-3 dept, same as you. was the los alamos there when you were?
    before that, i was on uss puffer 652 fast attack out of pearl harbor.

    you ever do battery change out? hee hee
    #26
    ann peeples
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/09 09:33:33 (permalink)
    I am lucky in the fact that our restaurant only deals with county inspectors.While some may be deemed as nazi like, and sometimes I roll my eyes at the miniscule infractions they mention, their reports do keep myself and my staff on their toes a bit more even after they leave.I take the stance that we LEARN from them, and as a result, we have a very clean and pest free eating establisment.Cross contamination can occur by the simplest of means, and if the inspectors want me to keep the top of buckets clean, then that is what we do..Just my two cents worth....
    #27
    Howdy Doodat
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/09 10:21:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by annpeeples

    Cross contamination can occur by the simplest of means, and if the inspectors want me to keep the top of buckets clean, then that is what we do..Just my two cents worth....


    My point was the juxtaposition of getting gigged for detrius on the lid of a bucket that was doing its job in protecting the mesh bag of onions and being told that simply laying the bag on the floor and letting things fall on it willy-nilly would have been OK.

    Food/health inspectors need a large portion of common sense in addition to their rule book.

    Is your establishment in/around the Spring-A-Leak area?
    #28
    ann peeples
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/09 10:36:52 (permalink)
    I agree-but sometimes its just easier to go with the flow.I learned that lesson years ago when I pissed off an inspector-I did not particularly like this person, and I insisted they wear a hairnet when coming behind the counter.Even though that was law, this person seemed to think they were above it.Well,needless to say, the woman found salmonella in one of by salads.Bull****!!!I was told by the store manager a few months later that the "finding"was simply retaliation for pissing her off.He said he had seen that type of crap MANY times.So, I keep my mouth shut.I am in the Metro Milwaukee area.
    #29
    Howdy Doodat
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    RE: County closes another kitchen, 2006/09/09 11:34:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by annpeeples

    I agree-but sometimes its just easier to go with the flow.I learned that lesson years ago when I pissed off an inspector-I did not particularly like this person, and I insisted they wear a hairnet when coming behind the counter.Even though that was law, this person seemed to think they were above it.Well,needless to say, the woman found salmonella in one of by salads.Bull****!!!I was told by the store manager a few months later that the "finding"was simply retaliation for pissing her off.He said he had seen that type of crap MANY times.So, I keep my mouth shut.I am in the Metro Milwaukee area.


    Nothing was said about the lid incident - beyond a bug-eye take and a shake of the head. But, it seems you have food nazis in your area, too. There is a lot of that sort of petty BS that goes on with our crop of inspectors that were foisted on us by the County Health Department.

    The church ladies forced them to amend their rules requiring everyone who brought a dish to a church pot-luck or baked a cake/cookies for an I Scream Social to have a food handler's licence. Actually, they got to enough members of the County Board of Supervisors to get them to pass an "exception". That exception, fortunately, covered our chilli cook-offs. What they do is issue "temporary" permits to each participant ... said permits being a waste of time and paper. But, they have this rule, you see -

    I did hear one of the county inspectors muttering about all the various sets of pots and pans and dishes in separate cabinets and areas while she was inspecting the kitchen at Temple B'rith Sholom. Apparently her knowledge of Kosher extends as far as Heifitz Dill Pickles.
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