Health inspectors detected a number of violations during recent visits to certain St. Paul restaurants: Cold food wasn't being kept cold enough, pre-prepared food wasn't cooled fast enough and sanitizing solutions had the wrong concentration of sanitizer.
St. Paul's Department of Safety and Inspections inspected 366 restaurants in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. I list the 10 with the most new or unabated critical violations.
Critical violations pose a higher risk of causing food-borne illness. Asterisks indicate critical violations still present at a later inspection in the six-month period.
1 Town & Country Club, 300 N. Mississippi River Blvd., 16 critical violations, 21 total
Employee drinks in kitchen. Vacuum-sealed fish in refrigerator, not freezer.* Cold food too warm. Food not date-marked. Gloves not used in food prep. No thaw date on casserole. Expired food.* Vacuum-packed food lacked formal health plan.* Bad ice-bin repair.* Mouse droppings.*
2 Elements Cafe (in the Science Museum of Minnesota), 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., 11 critical, 18 total
Person in charge not knowledgeable. Cold food and cooler too warm. Hot food too cool. Open bulk-food containers. Too-weak sanitizing solution. Dried food on slicer. Unlabeled spray bottles.*
3 Peking Garden Restaurant, 1488 University Av. W., 10 critical, 19 total
Person in charge not knowledgeable. Pre-prepared food cooled too slowly.* Food not date-marked. Raw meat stored over produce. Soiled cutting boards. Hot food too cool. Incomplete plan for food held without temperature control. Sanitizers too weak and too strong.
4 St. Paul Travelers Companies (north building), 385 Washington St., nine critical, 12 total
Cold food and cooler too warm. Hot food too cool. Dirty pop-dispenser nozzles. Sink spray arm too low.
5 Pizza Luce, 1183 Selby Av., seven critical, nine total
Pre-prepared food cooled too slowly. Cold food and cooler too warm. Thawed food lacked date. No plan for food at room temperature. Food debris on slicer. Chemicals improperly stored.
6 Trotter's Cafe, 232 Cleveland Av. N., seven critical, 12 total
Person in charge not knowledgeable. Pre-prepared food cooled too slowly. Gloves not used in food assembly. No sanitizer in dishwasher. Mold in ice machine. Open boxes of rodent bait. Evidence of pests.
7 Levy Premium Food Service (at Xcel Energy Center), 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., six critical, 28 total
Cold food too warm.* Hot food too cool.* Open bags of bulk ingredients. Employee food and drink in prep areas.
8 El Bravo, 538 Rice St., six critical, 15 total
Prep cooler too warm.* Hot food too cool. No sanitizer in dishwasher.* Hand sink inaccessible.
9 Saigon Express, 1098 Arcade St., six critical, 14 total
Employee drink in prep area. Egg rolls too cool. Food expired or not time-stamped. Evidence of pests. Hand sink inaccessible. Chemical stored above food.
10 The Muddy Pig, 162 N. Dale St., six critical, 21 total
Food not date-marked. Improper food container. Dishwasher lacked warning device. Too-weak sanitizing solution. Fruit flies.*
Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in Minnesota. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.