Behind the Kitchen Door: State serves up critical health violations to restaurants on both sides of Bay

10:48 PM, Feb 29, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - We visit three restaurants tonight in our weekly look behind the kitchen door of area restaurants.

First stop: Bob Evans on Ulmerton Road near the St. Pete/Clearwater Airport (map).

After a friendly welcome, the southern hospitality seemed to abruptly end when we brought up the restaurant's Feb 17th health inspection report by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

According to public records obtained by 10 News, a state inspector documented fruit not washed prior to preparation and liquid eggs that had to be thrown away after they were found sitting out at 72 degrees. There was also a stop sale issued for the chili, chicken noodles, brown gravy, green beans, soup, and carrots all found at unacceptable temperatures.

The manager at Bob Evans had no comment about the report and told us to leave.

Down to Pinellas Park, where our second stop was Pho 97 on 49th Street North (map). Employees didn't speak much English, but did allow our camera behind the kitchen door.

On Pho 97's most recent inspections, there was documentation of insects in the kitchen, and that's one of the first thing we found on our visit as well. We found some flying insects and pointed out a dead roach right above the stove area where food was being cooked.

There was plenty of uncovered food spotted throughout the kitchen: meat thawing, pasta on the floor, and other repeat violations, like chemicals stored on the same shelf with food items.

Pho 97 racked up 60 violations, 41 considered critical on state inspections in the month of February alone, according to state reports.

Our final stop for the night was Kobe Japanese Steak House on Bruce B. Downs in the area of New Tampa (map).

At the upscale Asian restaurant, an inspector found sushi and rice held at 77 degrees, an employee not properly washing his hands, and small flying insects in the sushi bar, including one in the soy sauce.

"There are a lot of minor issues on there, and I see a lot have been corrected," said manager Michelle Yip.

Yip wouldn't allow our camera back into the kitchen, but says the restaurant is working to educate employees on the critical importance of food safety

"We're also doing another server training very soon because of this."

Take a look at previous restaurants featured on 10 News:

Classic Homestyle Buffet, Tampa 1/11/12 

Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12 
Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12 

CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12

China Express, Brandon 2/8/12

Daiquiri Deck, Maderia Beach 2/15/12 

Athenian Garden, Tyrone Area, St. Pete 2/22/12

Look up any Florida restaurant's health inspection report here

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