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Spoiled food and excessive demerits land Sweet Poke on Dirty Dining

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jul 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 10:52:18-04

Excessive demerits -- 47 of them -- spelled shutdown for Sweet Poke on Maryland Parkway between Harmon and Tropicana.

Sweet Poke's person in charge goes by Lee. Just Lee. He explained that on inspection day, "Every bad thing come at the same time. The condenser, I was sick, they (employees) didn't care, they didn't check the delivery..."

Let's take those bad things one at a time. First, the fridge.

Lee: The walk-in cooler is a problem because our condenser blocked by the...
Darcy: Plastic bag, right?
Lee: Weird, but yes.

A plastic bag was stuck to the condenser in the walk-in cooler, causing all motors to overheat. 

And it wasn't just the fridge. Inspectors found most everything in the kitchen was in the temperature danger zone, and had to be thrown in the garbage. 

The next bad thing?

Lee: One of our employees didn't answer correctly.
Darcy: Yeah, they said the person in charge couldn't answer basic food safety questions.
Lee: That day I was sick.

While he was out sick, Lee says the third bad thing happened -- employees didn't check the food for freshness when it was delivered. 

Inspectors found spoiled produce including multiple moldy yellow tomatoes, slimy radishes and expired spinach.

Lee: If not good, we have to return.
Darcy: Yeah, send it back. You don't put it in the make table.
Lee: But we forgot that moment because I was not there.
Darcy: Your employees should be able to do it without you, shouldn't they?
Lee: Yes. That's our responsibility. But fortunately, we do fix right away.

There were also utensils, like tongs and a peeler, that were stored as clean with old, dried food debris on them. 

Bad thing number four? The floor.

Darcy: It looked like nobody cleaned it for awhile.
Lee: I check everything, but even after I check, when the person in charge is not here, employees get a little lazy.

But then he takes that back.

Darcy: Not lazy. Less care?
Lee: I don't want to use to my employees "Lazy." That's not good for them, not for me. You understand? So, less care.

He takes us to the kitchen to show us how they've cleaned things up, "Not 100 percent but almost brand new and shiny."

And asks to send the public this message: "I apologize to all our customers for what happened. But we fix right away and give us more chance to build our business."

We've got three imminent health hazard closures: Two are food trucks and they're both repeat offenders. 

Kenya's Catering number four truck was taken off the road at Buffalo and Russell for inadequate refrigeration. They were also storing open containers of engine oil, brake fluid and antifreeze next to uncooked rice. And their insect screens were heavily soiled with grease.

Best Mobile Food Service is the other repeat offender. Their number two truck was shut down for inadequate refrigeration while catering to construction workers near Cheyenne and the 215.

And Lumberjacks on Craig and Revere failed re-inspection from a previous C grade. They got 30 demerits, which resulted in immediate closure, for things like improper handwashing, expired spinach and dried food debris on utensils.

Lumberjacks and Kenya's Catering now have zero-demerit A grades. 

Best Mobile Food Service and Sweet Poke have 3-demerit A grades.