Six restaurants fail inspections
By Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess.org
Six local restaurants recently failed health inspections and one of them is now at risk for losing its food-service permit if it fails again.
Cravings, 603 Wright St., C, was closed in December after failing its seventh health inspection with an adjusted score of -3 and 10 critical violations.
Restaurants fail inspections if they get a score of 35 or lower out of 100 and are immediately closed if they score below 0 or if they have a critical violation that poses a danger to the public.
On Dec. 5, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District inspectors found several food items out of safe temperature ranges and produce placed directly on a preparation table that also was used for raw-meat preparation.
The restaurant was allowed to reopen on Dec. 9 after scoring a 91 on its reinspection.
Because the restaurant failed seven of its last nine inspections, it has to pass inspections for the next year or face closure and the loss of its operating permit. If that happens, the owners will have to go through a hearing to get its permit reinstated.
Sze Tho, a part-time employee, attributed the repeated failures to the large food deliveries the restaurant received. These were placed in a small walk-in cooler or inadvertenly left out. That meant the food may not have been properly cooled or stored at that moment.
"The restaurant is too small," Tho said.
Tho said though the staff intended to follow health codes, such as marking the dates on food or properly thawing out frozen food, the restaurant often is busy and staff became diverted serving customers instead.
Now, to avoid overwhelming large deliveries, Tho said he orders smaller quantities more frequently.
"We went from three times a week to five times a week," he said.
Tho said the restaurant has also added more shelves to the cooler and is storing food in smaller containers to help keep it at safe temperatures.
The restaurant is also preparing food differently, such as cutting down on the quantities cooked, he said.
The health district inspected about 130 restaurants in November and December throughout Champaign County.
CU-CitizenAccess.org must file Freedom of Information requests to get copies of inspection reports. For the past five years, health officials have worked on a plan to make inspection results more public. This month, they instituted a system in which colored placards indicating inspection results must be placed in a prominent location at restaurants in Champaign and Urbana. Restaurants in the rest of the county are not required to display placards.
CU-CitizenAccess.org began posting the complete failed health-inspection reports in 2011.
B. Won, 2006 S. Neil St., C, was also closed after it was inspected Nov. 13 with an adjusted score of 18 and six critical violations.
Inspectors cited the restaurant for fish in a bucket of water on the floor out of safe temperature ranges, a broken walk-in cooler with potentially hazardous food out of safe temperature ranges, and an employee who did not wash his hands before putting on gloves.
The restaurant was closed because it failed its reinspection. It was allowed to reopen Nov. 14 after scoring an 88 on its follow-up inspection.
Noted below are the score and number of critical violations of the restaurants and food establishments that failed health inspections in November and December 2013. Restaurants with adjusted scores of 36 or above are considered passing. Critical violations are scored higher — at four or five points apiece — because of the potential health effects they have on customers.
The score also depends on the amount of non-critical violations, which can be from one to two points.
The total amount of deductions are subtracted from a score of 100, with additional points taken off for the number of critical violations as well as the number of repeat violations.
— Ambar Indian Restaurant, 605 S. Wright St., C:
Inspected Dec. 5 with an adjusted score of 11 and nine critical violations including food such as spinach and cucumber sauce out of safe temperature ranges. Employees were also observed washing dishes without sanitizing before stacking on shelves. The restaurant is scheduled to be reinspected within 30 days.
— Sakanaya Restaurant, 403 E. Green St., C:
Inspected Dec. 4 with an adjusted score of 22 and seven critical violations, including the practice of freezing fresh fish to kill parasites without approval of a safety plan. The fish also lacked labels and documentation of being properly frozen. Inspectors also noted a blocked sink for employees to wash their hands and no hot water to the men's restroom. The restaurant is scheduled to be reinspected within 30 days.
— Shanghai 1938 Chinese Restaurant, 2504 Village Green Place, C:
Inspected Nov. 5 with an adjusted score of 32 and two critical violations, including egg-drop soup that was out of safe temperature ranges. Inspectors also noted sewage backup from floor drains into the kitchen and closed the facility. The restaurant reopened Nov. 6 after the problem was repaired and the restaurant was cleaned, according to health officials. The restaurant was reinspected on Dec. 3 with an adjusted score of 65.
— Sitara Indian Restaurant and Lounge, 114 S. Race St., U:
Inspected Nov. 2 with an adjusted score of 30 and six critical violations, including making yogurt without a permit or license, chicken and beans out of safe temperature ranges and an employee talking on a cellphone while handling food in the kitchen. The restaurant was reinspected Dec. 2 with an adjusted score of 89.
About this story
CU-CitizenAccess.org operates under the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois and focuses on local investigative reporting, with an emphasis on social justice and economic issues. The project began with funding from the Marajen Stevick Foundation and the UI and a matching grant from the John S. Knight and James L. Knight Foundation. More restaurant inspection information is available online here.