Dirty Dining: Rising from the roaches

Dirty Dining: Rising from the roaches


BRIAN:..THE CLOSING OF XO ASIAN CUISINE LAST YEAR GOT LOTS OF PUBLICITY — A POPULAR DOWNTOWN RESTAURANT SHUT DOWN TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH. BUT RECORDS OBTAINED BY TARGET 8 SHOW THE KENT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT HAS TEMPORARILY — AND QUIETLY — CLOSED THE DOORS ON 7 OTHER RESTAURANTS IN RECENT YEARS. 3 3 MARLEE:..MOST BECAUSE THEY POSED AN IMMINENT RISK TO PUBLIC HEALTH — FOR ROACHES, MICE AND SEWAGE PROBLEMS.IN OUR SERIES DIRTY DINING, TARGET 8 INVESTIGATOR KEN KOLKER IS HERE WITH THE STORY OF ONE RESTAURANT WHOSE OWNERS SAY THAT THE TEMPORARY SHUTDOWN WAS THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED. 3 KEN:..WHILE LAST SPRING’S FORCED CLOSING OF XO ASIAN CUISINE IN DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS GOT ALL THAT PUBLICITY, THE OTHERS — INCLUDING THAT OF A FAMILY-OWNED RESTAURANT ON 28TH STREET IN WYOMING — GOT NONE. 3 THE OWNERS OF ELIZABETH’S KITCHEN SAY THE CLOSING NEARLY TWO YEARS AGO ACTUALLY HELPED. VICTOR CASTILLO, ELIZABETH’S CO-OWNER: “THEY’RE SHOWING US THAT WE HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB.”BACK IN 2015, COCKROACHES WERE WINNING THE PEST CONTROL BATTLE AT ELIZABETH’S.INSPECTORS FIRST FOUND THEM IN MARCH — LIVE ROACHES IN THE KITCHEN, ALONG WITH A HALF-DOZEN DEAD ROACHES. THE FIX WAS EASY, OR AT LEAST THEY HOPED. THREE DAYS LATER, ELIZABETH’S EMAILED PROOF TO THE COUNTY THAT ITS PEST CONTROL COMPANY HAD SPRAYED FOR ROACHES. INSPECTORS DID NOT RETURN TO FOLLOW UP.SIX MONTHS LATER, IT TOOK A CUSTOMER COMPLAINT — A COCKROACH CRAWLING ON A DINING ROOM TABLE — TO TRIGGER A RESPONSE.A HEALTH INSPECTOR FOUND A LIVE ROACH WITHIN 3 SECONDS OF LOOKING FOR THEM. THEY WERE CRAWLING OUT OF THE DISH MACHINE AND THE OVEN. DEAD ROACHES WERE IN THE WOK, IN THE OVEN AND ON A RACK WITH CLEAN DISHES.THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT CALLED IT AN IMMINENT HEALTH RISK AND, IN A RARE MOVE, SHUT IT DOWN.IT WAS ONE OF 8 RESTAURANTS FORCED TO CLOSE BY THE KENT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT — FOUR FOR COCKROACH INFESTATIONS, ONE FOR BEING OVERRUN WITH MICE, A COUPLE FOR SEWER PROBLEMS AND, XO ASIAN CUISINE, FOR A LONG LIST OF RECURRING PROBLEMS. MAX BJORKMAN, KENT CO. HEALTH DEPARTMENT: “IT’S A HUGE INCENTIVE BUT IT’S JUST ANOTHER TOOL IN THE TOOLBOX THAT WE HAVE.” 3 MAX BJORKMAN, KENT CO. HEALTH DEPARTMENT: “IF THAT’S WHAT THEY NEED TO START TAKING FOOD SAFETY SERIOUSLY. THAT’S OUR MAIN GOAL IS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT CAN PARTNER WITH THE RESTAURANT OWNERS TO MAKE SURE THAT FOOD SAFETY IS A PRIORITY, AND SOMETIMES THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES.”MOST REOPENED A DAY OR TWO LATER.THE CLOSING AT ELIZABETH’S FORCED IT TO HIRE A NEW PEST CONTROL COMPANY. VICTOR CASTILLO, ELIZABETH’S CO-OWNER: “THE COMPANY WE HAD WASN’T DOING THEIR JOB, SO WE IMPROVED OUR CLEANING AND STUFF AND WE HIRE A DIFFERENT COMPANY. SO SINCE THEN WE’RE DOING BETTER.” ELIZABETH’S OPENED A DAY LATER, BUT NOT BEFORE A HEALTH INSPECTOR FOUND IT WAS MUCH CLEANER. VICTOR CASTILLO, ELIZABETH’S CO-OWNER: “THE LADY FROM THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT SAID IT WASN’T THAT BAD, SO WE HAVE TO FIX IT RIGHT AWAY, SO THAT’S WHAT WE DID, SO WE WORKED HARD, THAT WAY WE CAN STAY IN BUSINESS.”A FEW WEEKS LATER, AN INSPECTOR FOLLOWED UP AGAIN, MEETING WITH THE OWNERS AND THE PEST CONTROL COMPANY.NOT ALL CLOSINGS LEAD TO SUCCESS.IN OCTOBER 2014, THE COUNTY SHUT DOWN SIDE-BY-SIDE RESTAURANTS IN THE 34TH STREET MALL ON SOUTH DIVISION FOR ROACHES. SINCE THEN, INSPECTORS HAVE FOUND 10 PRIORITY VIOLATIONS — THE KINDS THAT CAN MAKE YOU SICK — AT MI TEIRRA EL SALVADOR AND 19 AT GARIBALDI III. NONE WERE FOR ROACHES. OVER THREE YEARS, GARIBALDI 3 III RANKS 14TH AMONG RESTAURANTS FOR SERIOUS VIOLATIONS, ACCORDING TO A TARGET 8 ANALYSIS.BUT AT ELIZABETH’S, INSPECTORS HAVE FOUND FAR FEWER VIOLATIONS — FOUR — SINCE IT REOPENED. NO MENTION OF ROACHES. VICTOR CASTILLO, ELIZABETH’S CO-OWNER: “WE’VE BEEN WORKING REALLY HARD ON EVERYTHING, SO I THINK IT’S GOOD.” VICTOR CASTILLO, ELIZABETH’S CO-OWNER: “COME OVER AND SEE US. WE’VE BEEN DOING BETTER AND BETTER SINCE THAT DAY, SO COME OVER AND SEE US.” 3 KEN:..WE HAVE AN INTERACTIVE MAP SHOWING THE 8 RESTAURANTS THE COUNTY TEMPORARILY SHUT DOWN. THAT’S ON OUR WEB SITE, WHERE YOU CAN ALSO SEARCH FOR SERIOUS VIOLATIONS AT YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT, AND A MAP OF THE TOP 10 VIOLATORS. 3 SO WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE FINAL DAY OF DIRTY DINING? 3 3 3

1 Comment

  1. I should yelled out loud that other customers heard me because I seen a live cockroach when this restaurant was Bob Evans but I didn't. This area has had a roach problem for years. Chinatown restaurant and that hotel behind the Admiral Gas Station have had roach problems in the past.

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