There is one thing you can expect when you go to Miami International Airport (MIA) -- prices on everything, especially food, are elevated. Restaurants and retail stores there pay equally elevated rent for those cramped metallic spaces scattered within and outside the terminals. Thanks to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, we now know that at least two of those cramped spaces are sites for roach hedonism.
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Island Chicken Grill on concourse "J" and Famous Famiglia Pizza in the South Terminal Food Court were both closed October 3 due to the presence of live and/or dead roaches. Island Chicken Grill specializes in Caribbean food, with selections like jerk chicken and ox tail. Short Order called to get a statement, but manager Alie Hermanus denied the store ever closed. Mall Officials could not be immediately reached for comment, but responded with the following statement received by Short Order Friday.
"The Miami-Dade Aviation Department is working closely with AREAS USA, the company that operates the two adjoining restaurants in Miami International Airport's South Terminal, to insure that this type of violation does not occur again," according to MIA Communications Director Greg Chin.
Famous Famiglia is a part of a chain of Italian fast food that serves heroes, calzones, pasta and salads. Headquarters in White Plains, New York, was contacted and executive vice president/co-founder Giorgio Kolaj refused to comment. "We reserve the right to not issue a statement," said the woman on the phone. Many people who have eaten there agree their food is not bad for so-called "fast food."
El Compadre Pizza on NW 22nd Avenue and Second Ave was also closed due to roach activity. The place could not be reached for comment.
Bill's Catering, also known as Bill Hansen's, on South Bayshore Drive was also closed according to state records. Throughout the entire state of Florida, 23 restaurants were closed from October 1 to 5, most due to roach activity.
The nature, and not the number, of critical violations are what cause a restaurant to be closed. Roach activity is the most common type of violation that requires closure. Each of 45,000 licensed food service establishments in Florida are supposed to be inspected twice a year. When a restaurant is closed, an inspector visits every 24 hours to make sure the violations are resolved before it is allowed to reopen. Repeated violations can net fines of up to $1,000. Only 28 restaurants, and only two in Miami, have not received any health or safety violations in the past year; A Place For Kids Miami at 9612 NE Second Avenue and Oli Cafe at 5825 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach