7 restaurants forced to close temporarily

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - From the Southside to St. Augustine and Green Cove Springs, inspectors found seven restaurants with high-priority violations.

In Macclenny, Woody's Bar-B-Q on Sixth Street had to temporarily close for a day. Four high-priority violations were cited, as nearly a dozen live roaches and flies were spotted in the kitchen. The restaurant reopened the next day after meeting inspection standards.

In St. Augustine, The Back 40 Urban Cafe on South Dixie Highway got hit with four high-priority violations. According to an inspector, more than a dozen dead and live roaches shut down the cafe for a day, and several items -- like cheese, potato salad and raw fish -- were stored at the wrong temperature. The inspector came back the following day and allowed The Back 40 Urban Cafe to open back up.

Pest problems crawled up to Secret Garden Cafe on Third Street in Jacksonville Beach as well, shutting down the restaurant for days. The inspector found live roaches in the kitchen. Employees also had to throw out a container of expired ham. The Secret Garden Cafe reopened the next day, passing its inspection with a perfect score.

Gubbio's Italian Restaurant on Baymeadows Road had six high-priority violations, most of which staff members were able to quickly fix. Foods, like shredded cheese and pasta salad, were too warm, so the staff had to cool them down with ice. Two pans of expired tuna salad had to be thrown out. More than a dozen live and dead roaches were found by the kitchen entrance and near the ice machine, the inspector said. The owner had a pest control company show up immediately and was able to open back up the next day, but it is scheduled for a follow-up inspection.

Captain Melo's on Touchton Road was found by an inspector to have three high-priority violations. It had to close for two days to battle roaches. The inspector wrote that live roaches were crawling near the fryers, inside the coolers and hiding inside a can opener on the cook line. The inspector also reported a black moldy substance in the ice machine. Two days later, the inspector came back and allowed Captain Melo's to reopen, but it is due for a follow-up.

Seven high-priority violations were Adam's Street Deli and Grill in downtown Jacksonville, which faced similar roach problems. The restaurant also closed for a day due to unsafe food temperatures. Despite those pesky problems, the restaurant is staying busy. The owner made a number of kitchen upgrades to get his cafe in good condition.

When inspectors forced the deli to close last Monday, the manager, Josh, knew exactly what he had to do to get his restaurant back in business for his loyal customers.

"We got all the three fridges fixed now and we got a brand-new prep table so everything is up and running," Josh said.

The inspector said tuna salad, potato salad beef, hummus, cheese and pasta salad were all stored too warm. It's a factor that could lead to food-borne illnesses so everything was thrown out immediately, along with a prep table that was just too old.

A number of live flies were also spotted during the inspectors visit. They were found in the kitchen, and storage room where water was collecting. 

Josh said they're mopping up the mess and putting bleach on the problem spots where the flies tend to swarm.

"We also had a pest control company that comes in to clean up and spray it every day. He just came back again today and that’s how they got rid of the pests," Josh said.

Josh said those extra visits from pest control is what is needed to quash the problem.

"Right now we just want to make sure we kill everything so that they don’t keep coming back and then we can go back to a regular routine of once a month," he said.

The deli was allowed to reopen the next day but a follow-up inspection was required. After a third visit, Adams Street Deli and Grill got the thumbs-up and met the inspection standards.

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