Dining out can always come with a few surprises. Unfortunately, they weren't the good kind when inspectors checked into two Northeast Florida restaurants.
The Gourmet Hut in St. Augustine shut down temporarily last week. According to state regulators' records, two serious violations were found at the restaurant on Cuna Street. Inspectors said more than 100 rodent droppings were found above the food prep table and storage area in the kitchen. They said the kitchen didn't have any sanitizer to wash the dishes and a staff member had to go next door to get a bottle of bleach. The restaurant made a comeback the next day when it passed with zero violations.
Customers at Charlie's Southern Bistro in Green Cove Springs weren't the only ones chowing down for lunch. Rodents ate their way through the kitchen, according to inspectors who said they found a bag of rice with chew marks on it. The rice had to be thrown out. The inspection also uncovered more than 80 rodent droppings in the kitchen. Repeat violations were issued for problems with food stored at the wrong temperature. The inspector allowed the restaurant to reopen after a third inspection. It is now in compliance.