Short Order regularly peruses the restaurant violations that are downloaded for everyone's enjoyment on the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation website. Call it our version of reading the obituaries.
Usually, Miami restaurants come in pretty clean, which is why you don't regularly read inspector reports. If a restaurant doesn't score a perfect rating (and few do), many violations are nit-picky at best. Things like not clearly labeling food items and having a rag lying on the counter for the split second the inspector pays a visit are enough to be written up, but not enough to close a restaurant down. Most restaurants have a few violations, which are categorized into critical and non-critical categories. (That rag lying around is considered non-critical. A roach crawling on the rag is critical).
So we were surprised when we went down the weekly list on the department's website and saw that during an inspection conducted on March 9, Einstein Bros. Bagels on 13710 SW 88th Street was cited with 25 different violations. Of the 25 violations, 12 of them were listed as critical. Some of the critical violations included:
- Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food prepared on site and held more than 24 hours with not properly date marked. salmon, tomatoes
- Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food prepared on site and held more than 24 hours with not properly date marked. yogurts
- Working containers of food removed from original container not identified by common name. flour
- No conspicuously located thermometer in holding unit. inside walk in cooler . the thermometer on door not working.
- Observed food stored on floor. dough inside the walk-in freezer.
- Observed employee engage in food preparation, handle clean equipment or utensils, or touch unwrapped single-service items, without washing hands.
- Observed food-contact surfaces encrusted with grease and/or soil deposits. Inside ice scoop holder with mold-like material touching ice scoop.
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We called Einstein Noah's corporate headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado, and received this reply from Brian Unger, Chief Restaurant Officer:
This inspection report is completely unacceptable to us and does not
reflect our high operating standards. We take these inspections very
seriously and immediately took the following actions:
- Directed the Area Business Manager to ensure the restaurant meets both Einstein's and the local Health Department standards
- Reviewed and reinforced our Daily Food Safety practices with the General Manager and all crew
- Conducted unannounced shops on the restaurant to verify compliance of our operation's standards
We always strive to maintain the highest standards of quality and food safety.
It should be noted that none of the violations warranted an emergency closure. The restaurant remains operational and, according to the above statement, is now up to both Florida and company standards.