Restaurant Inspections

Maggots in the Chicken at People's Bar-B-Que?

Either a pair of respected Miami-Dade Corrections officers have concocted an outlandish, disgusting hoax for a few thousand dollars, or Miami's best barbecue joint served maggots with its chicken.

Either way, consider us grievously disillusioned.

Last Tuesday, 25-year veteran prison employee Sgt. Rosanna Perry and fellow guard Officer Valerie McKinney went to People's Bar-B-Que on NW Eighth Street, as they have for decades. Dwyane Wade's favorite local restaurant was the winner of this publication's Best Soul Food award in 2009-- plus many other New Times honors over the years-- and is famous for its signature tart sauce.

The sauce apparently comes in handy in concealing maggots. The prison officers claim they got the barbecue chicken to go, chowed down on some of it in their lounge, and then wrapped it tightly in plastic bags and stored it in a fridge.

Feeling peckish a few hours later, Perry popped her chicken in the microwave and sat down to finish it off. Officer Fred Hernandez happened to walk by just as she cut into a piece. He remembers a "really foul smell" that he describes as "like a real bad feet odor, and then you put something rotten on top of it."

Perry calls it a "smell you had to run out of the room to get away from" -- and then both guards looked down at the chicken. Recalls Hernandez: "All these little worms were just wriggling inside the meat."

"There were maggots coming out of the meat, out of the bone," Perry says. "The whole piece of chicken was writhing. I think what might have happened was heating up the chicken activated the maggots. I yelled, 'Lord have mercy, Fred -- we done ate half of this damn food already!' "

The ensuing freak-out sounds epic. After the shock of seeing the bugs, Perry says, she began "vomiting like crazy." Perry and McKinney say they took their food back to People's, where an apathetic co-owner, George Lewis, tried to give them $10 for the price of the meals.

Contacted by Short Order, Lewis claims he was never confronted about the maggots, even though the guards had his business card. "I don't see how maggots could be in there," he protests. "If it's grilled chicken, we cut it up and throw it on the grill. If it's fried chicken, we deep-fry it."

Perry and McKinney went to get checked at an emergency room, where a physician, Dr. Samia Zaki, observed their condition and wrote in a diagnosis: "Probable larvae ingestion as per patient's history."

Perry also submitted a stool sample. Riptide can confirm, from the doctor's notes, she had diarrhea.

In total, five guards claim to have seen maggots in Perry's chicken. Several of them took pictures with their cell phones, but the photos all came out Sasquatch-esque: blurry and inconclusive.

So what are the guards after? "I want a public apology from the manager," Perry says. "I want to expose that they're selling bad chicken, and I want them to actually clean that place up."

What about reparations for medical expenses? "One thousand dollars," Perry says. "Actually, put down $5,000."