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Joey's NY Pizza wants to clear name

Posted at 10:45 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 10:57:23-05

A restaurant owner is eager to talk to Contact 13's Darcy Spears, hoping to clear his pizzeria's name despite earning the top spot on Dirty Dining.

Eastern Avenue is home to a decidedly East Coast character at Joey's New York Pizza.

Joey Miloro: I'm glad you came, actually.  I want to talk to you.
Darcy Spears: Good!  I'm glad.  I want to talk to you, too.

Joey Miloro can't quite believe that his little pizzeria racked up so many demerits.

Darcy: You ended up with 39 demerits. Two shy of shutdown!

Joey: I mean, you look at the store, we never got that in our life. Been here six years. Never ever. This is my pride and joy. And that's why I'm interviewing with you guys. I got nothing to hide.

Their 39-demerit C grade came from a lot of little things.

"It had nothing to do with cleanliness or anything at all. Nothing expired. Nothing. I want to make that clear," Joey said.

The cheese pizza in the display case was held slightly below the safe temperature. Scoops were touching spices and container lids were stored behind the faucet. And food in the walk-in wasn't labeled or dated.

Darcy: They did say that the person in charge wasn't knowledgeable about all the basic food safety stuff--food temperatures, heating, cooling, all that -- even sanitizer.
Joey: He knew it. He just got nervous, I guess it was.

They were also written up for the handsink not being fully stocked with paper towels. Joey says that's because the health inspector, who was a trainee, kept washing her hands.

Darcy: So the health inspector trainee used up all your paper towels and then docked you for not having paper towels?
Joey: Absolutely. And made my employee shut the store, run to the gas station to get paper towels and turn down customers when we have napkins on every single table here.

The inspector said a food handler made bare-hand contact with ready to eat food and didn't wash his hands for the right amount of time. 

Joey believes the whole thing was unjust.

Darcy: So were you shocked by this?
Joey: Absolutely!  110% shocked. 39 demerits, I mean, I still can't see it.

As for closures, we've got two to tell you about. 

Sage Sushi on Rancho and Craig was shut down after failing its change of owner inspection. 

The place had roaches crawling around on dirty floors and walls. Ranges, deep fryers and floors under equipment were encrusted with debris. The walk-in cooler walls had corroded, and so had the ceiling, which was rusty and in danger of collapse.

The other closure was the Tropicana showroom portable bar at the Tropicana hotel casino. 

It was shut down for the imminent health hazard of no hot water. 

There was also wastewater actively running onto the snack bar floor. And microbial build-up on the soda gun nozzle. 

It re-opened same day with a zero-demerit A.

Joey's New York Pizza is also back to an A with zero demerits. 

Sage Sushi has an A now too, but it was closed for 10 days before being approved to reopen.