Inspector Guides New Restaurateur

Alan Appel PhotoAs city sanitarians passed 24 and flunked two eateries in the latest round of health inspections, they found time to direct a first-time restaurateur through the hoops of approval—so she can pass when they come knocking on her new Westville door.

Last week the restaurateur, Tynesha Swint, consulted with city inspector Roslyn Hamilton as she filed paperwork at the health department in the run-up to her opening Dejavu’s Bar and Restaurant at 50 Fitch St. near Whalley. 

The first-time restaurateur is taking over the former Soco’s, which has been vacant for the last two months. 

Whenever a restaurant changes hands, a new inspection is required. That will happen in November, when Swint hopes to open Dejavu’s with a grand event that may include a pre-Thanksgiving turkey give-away.

City sanitarians inspect all of New Haven’s restaurants, groceries, bars, and any establishment that serves food between one and four times a year. Establishments that score less than 80 usually have two weeks to make the recommended corrections. The health department can also close a restaurant regardless of its score if the sanitarians suspect an immediate danger to public health.

(Scroll down in this story for specific results from the latest inspections.)

Swint said she plans a departure from Soco’s. That establishment was born with some controversy because the community was concerned that the full bar and marketing to Southern students would create problems in the neighborhood; and the city accused the owner of knowingly ignoring rules of operation, accusations the owner ignored. The trouble culminated in a New Year’s day murder—click here for that story.

Swint said she hopes to shift the place to a more family-themed eatery with more emphasis on food than on drink. Soco’s passed its most recent health inspection already, but a new owner requires a new visit from the health department’s Hamilton.

Swint is reconfiguring only the inside of the 74-seat place, eliminating the bar and turning it to service only.

“You want to start more black businesses and to give back to the community,” Swint said as she and Hamilton made sure that Dejavu’s and not Soco’s name appeared on the new license.

The new place will feature coat drives, Christmas events, student backpack giveaways, and other activities, Swint said.

Swint comes from an entrepreneurial family whose members operated carting and other businesses in the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods for generations.

Click here for a story about her cousin Shawnte Swint and his plans to open the first African-American owned barbershop downtown.

The process of opening a restaurant for the first time can be “scary, but you have to take a chance,” Tynesha Swint said. That’s where sanitarian Roslyn Hamilton comes in.

She advised Swint on getting a grease trap sign-off from the Water Pollution Control Authority, making sure that her staff takes the state-mandated one-day course on quality food handling, and filing for a license.

All that was in order. Swint said she is waiting only for her liquor license to come through.

“Make sure you affix the [license and other] certificates so people can see,” Hamilton advised, as Swint departed.

The inspector said she’d be sure to come by for a pre-opening inspection when Swint is ready. She also gave some recipe advice about preparing the calamari.

Following are the results of the latest inspections of 26 eateries around town.

The Winners

The following received passing grades:

9/18/2012: Ziolo’s European Deli, 835 Grand Ave., Score: 91; Mama Mary’s Soul Food, 372 Whalley Ave., Score: 86; Anthony’s Ocean View, 450 Lighthouse Rd., Score: 82; Anthony’s Ocean View Catering, 450 Lighthouse Rd., Score: 82; Hospital of St. Raphael, 1450 Chapel St., Score: 96;Project Green, 830 Grand Ave., Score: 87; The Greek Olive Catering, 402 Sargent Dr., Score: 81; The Greek Olive, 402 Sargent Dr., Score:81

9/19/2012: P Diana & Sons, 89 Main St., Score: 96;C-Town Supermarket, 35 Ferry St., Score: 85; R and M Corner Market, 39 Castle St., Score: 88; Hill Regional High, 140 Legion Ave., Score: 91; Chabaso Bakery, 360 James St., Score: 94; Elm City College Preparatory, 794 Dixwell Ave., Score: 95; Anastasio’s Restaurant, 127 Wooster St., Score: 81; Anastasio’s Catering, 127 Wooster St., Score: 81; BC’s Deli & Grocery, 177 Ferry St., Score: 94;

9/20/2012: DJ’s Snack Bar, 235 Church Ave., Score: 89; Calvin Hill Day Care, 150 Highland Ave., Score: 100; New Horizons School, 1 Hallock Ave., Score: 90;

9/21/2012: Vendome/Hamilton St., Ent, 102 Hamilton St., Score: 87; Church on the Rock, 95 Hamilton St., Score: 90; Pequonnock Yacht Club, 100 South Water St., Score: 82; Dino’s Deli Market Express, 1464 Ella Grasso Blvd., Score: 90

2 Need Improvement
During the Sept. 18 to Sept. 24 period, the following two failed their inspections and were given two weeks to make improvements:

Jokers Wild
232 Wooster St.
Score: 71
Due: 2 Weeks

• Lower hot water in bathroom to between 110 and 115 degrees
• Fix defective flooring, clean floors under and around equipment
• Clean gaskets on doors, clean tracks on slide doors
• Don’t store food or drink on the floor
• Label products not in original containers
• Don’t use plates as scoops in food products
• Don’t line shelves with paper, fix defectvie top on bar, fix gaskets on door
• Clean air vents, fix defective wallboard
• Fix defective floor/wall junction covers, fix defective wallboard
• Clean interior of drawers
• Refill paper towel and soap dispenser at hand sinks
• Don’t store raw eggs over ready to eat foods
• Moldy eggplant found in walk-in cooler - destroyed on site
• Clean walls and ceilings in walk-in cooler
• If back door is kept open, need screen
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Clean interior of ice bin (mold)
• Clean can opener, holder and frame
• If prepared hot foods are kept in beer cooler,need thermometer in warmest location
• Need covered trash can inside bathroom for hygiene products
• Refill paper towel dispenser inside bathroom
• Replace missing ceiling tiles
• Fix defective exterior on equipment, wipe exterior of equipment
• Don’t store toxic items with food products - fixed on site
• Fruit flies in liquor bottles - destroyed on site

Sage American Grill
100 South Water St.
Score: 76
Due: 2 Weeks

• Broken white scoop in food bin
• Scoop submerged in sugar bin
• Dirty wiping cloths on counters throughout
• Moldy gaskets on dessert freezer and others
• Cardboard under floor mat
• Electrical tape on low freezer
• Stained ceiling tiles
• Refrigerator near wine station and
• Rubber gaskets shredded in several locations
• Brooms stored on floor
• Hand sink by dishwasher not clean
• Tray in salad reach-in lined with cloth, food should not be on cloth, line with parchment
• Shakers of granular and plastic squirt bottles missing labels
• Fruit flies present
• Cabinet with green front in disrepair
• Reach-in refrigerator shelves (white) coated with food and mold
• At pre-set tables plates at waitress station stored face up
• Missing buckets of bleach and water for storing wiping cloths at each work station
• Add “Smoking Prohibited” sign at entrance

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posted by: anonymous on October 1, 2012  12:14pm

Good luck to Dejavu’s!  I hope that Westville / Whalley will be able to support all of the new restaurants that are opening there over the next few months.

posted by: WestvilleAdvocate on October 2, 2012  8:40am

I am glad there are two more restaurants opening in Westville.  I am tired of getting in my car to drive downtown to eat when we want to go out. I hope the two new spots are going to offer something new and unique.

All the best to Swint.  A piece of advice for her is that she will need to market the heck out of her restaurant with door hangers, mailers, appearances at the Farmers’ Market, etc….  She is in a spot that is out of sight, therefore out of mind.  A little marketing and an unforgettably good offering will create a following.  We Westvillers are a loyal crowd but you gotta get us in the door first.

Keeping my fingers crossed and I look forward to trying the restaurant.