Restaurant Ratings: Repeat violations still cause problems

(Toledo News Now) - Restaurants typically see a spike in business during the summer, but they may not be clean in time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of everyone's meals are prepared at the hands of someone else from June through September, potentially opening the door to dangerous foodborne diseases.

Ohioans craving a sweet treat are setting their sights on shivers in south Toledo. Six-year veteran ice cream maker Kara Kwiatkowski is scooping and serving shakes, especially when it is hot and humid. These cool eats can lead to cases of salmonella if the shop is unclean and unsanitary.

Order away. The Lucas County Health Department cleared Shivers of any violations prior to the start of the summer season.

Across town, Ida's Catering in west Toledo is celebrating 30 years of being violation free. Both women admit the company's recipe for success is a family favorite.

"It starts with organization and cleanliness. It's something that's very important to us," said Briean Campbell.

Other establishments with zero violations included Maumee's Rolf Park Pool and Gino's Italian Delites in south Toledo.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for a restaurant in the heart of downtown Toledo. Admiral's American Grill put Lucas County health inspectors to work late last month receiving 20 violations. Most violations found on May 30, were routine and common to many diners, such as buildup inside surfaces of the ice machine. Other violations were more serious, such as gnats in the kitchen and grout with standing water.

Additional violations included foods without proper labeled dates, improper cooler and cooking temperatures, food sitting out, disposable cups used as scoops, unlabeled chemical spray bottles, and improper food storage, including food on the ground.

"We take the report very seriously. We have remedied the violations and are waiting for a reinspection. We strive to maintain the highest standards at Admiral's American Grill," said owner and general manager Mike Mckarus.

Eric Zgodsinski helps oversee the food protection unit in Lucas County and said a change in seasons can also impact service. As temperatures soar, so do the risks of foodborne illnesses, making it more important for health inspection reports to assure clean restaurants.

According to the CDC, about 48 million people in the U.S. will contract a foodborne illness this year, and a good portion of the cases are likely to happen this summer.

Whitehouse's Nick and Jimmy's Black Swamp Sportin' Pub is implementing changes following its June 5 report with nine violations. At the time of inspection, there was not one employee present who had a certified food handler certification, which was a repeat violation.

Other repeat violations included using noncommercial food storage containers, maintenance issues, expired food, improper food storage with possible cross-contamination issues, no test strips for sanitizers, plus homestyle equipment like GE and Hamilton appliances were found on site.

"We are in the process of getting more employees food certified. We had a couple homestyle appliances; we are working to switch everything over to NSF food safe," said general manager and owner Patrick Ray.

Inspectors found Little Caesar's in west Toledo had only a few violations, including maintenance issues, but said the facility is in need of cleaning and upgrading.

Kopper's Korner Bar in east Toledo had just a handful of violations including buildup in the beverage dispenser, maintenance issues and first aid medicine stored above a microwave.

However, the facility is not approved to cook and serve pizza. It is classified as a class two risk level and no cooking of TCS foods are permitted. If the restaurant wants to sell pizza, it will have to contact the health department for a classification change. Still, inspectors said a grease trap must be installed by a licensed plumber before pizzas will be approved by the department.

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