Food News

State Closes Prep Area at SLS South Beach Days After $125 Million Sale UPDATED

The SLS South Beach is known for its chic guest rooms, fabulous parties, and celebrity-driven restaurants. At any given time of the day or evening, hundreds of guests, including celebrities like Diddy, Pharrell, Fat Joe, Russell Simmons, and Justin Bieber pass through its perfect art deco doors to indulge their senses on José Andrés' culinary talents or enjoy sushi from master chef Katsuya Uechi.

But this past June 15, just a few days after the Philippe Starck-designed inn sold for $125 million, Florida restaurant inspectors shut down a restaurant prep area at the hotel after finding more than two dozen live roaches, among other violations. They included the following:
31B-02-4 Intermediate - No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink. 
31B-03-4 Intermediate - No soap provided at handwash sink. 
02A-01-4 Intermediate - Raw or undercooked oysters offered and establishment has no consumer advisory sign provided on wall, menu, placard, table tent or by any other written means. Raw animal foods must be fully cooked prior to service. 
12A-07-4 High Priority - Employee failed to wash hands before changing gloves and/or putting on gloves to work with food.
01D-01-4 High Priority - Nonexempt fish offered raw or undercooked has not undergone proper parasite destruction. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded. Snapper
35A-05-4 High Priority - Roach activity present as evidenced by 25+ live roaches found. Found on walls and floors. All prep room.
According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the violations were listed under the license name of SLS South Beach (licensee NOS2334482). They occurred in a food preparation area that was closed the morning of June 15 and allowed to open the next day after a re-inspection. Though inspectors often find flaws at restaurants, they rarely take the extreme action of closing them, even temporarily.

The property's high-end restaurants were not involved. The Bazaar by José AndrésKatsuya by Starck, and Hyde Beach underwent individual inspections the same week and were all issued passing grades.

Repeated messages left at the SLS South Beach since 10:30 a.m. have not been returned. New Times will update this story with any comments or statements regarding the closure.

The owner of the hotel is Guernsey-based investment, advisory, and management company GoldenPeaks Capital Real Estate. Several other related projects have been announced for Miami, including the SLS Hotel & Residences in Brickell. 

Update: The SLS South Beach issued the following statement regarding the incident:
“We are committed to keeping a safe and clean environment. We were aware of the isolated issue that occurred that day and took immediate steps to ensure the safety of our guests. Our team was able to quickly take action, implement the solution, and [sic] be approved to welcome guests the following morning."
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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