Olde School Stands By Exposed Forks, Knives

Allan Appel PhotoJeffrey Arnold decided he’d rather take the hit from city inspectors than stop welcoming his guests with upturned glasses and gleaming, visible cutlery.

Arnold runs Olde School Saloon and Bistro at State and Center streets. And he’s a little old school about hospitality.

So on his most recent city health inspection he lost a point for having “pre-set tables with exposed utensils and glasses.”

He said he is willing to take the one-point hit now and in future inspections in order to welcome diners the way he’d like to.

That deduction and others caused Olde School to be one of two eateries that failed city health inspections, out of 23 overall, between Dec. 26 and Dec. 31.

City sanitarians inspect all of New Haven’s restaurants, groceries, bars, and other food-serving establishments between one and four times a year based on the state health code. 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 the story to see the latest results.)

City sanitarian Brian Wnek inspected Arnold’s three-year-old eatery on a busy day after Christmas. Olde School scored a 66.

“He caught us on a bad day,” Arnold said of Wnek, whom he has known for years. Before starting Olde School, Arnold, who also teaches culinary arts at Whitney North High School, worked at 500 Blake Street, a popular former restaurant and catering facility in Westville.

He was chief chef at 500 Blake for 15 years. At Olde School, he and a partner wanted to re-create 500 Blake with the music, food, and camaraderie they remembered.

Click here for a story of an awards dinner for New Haven firefighters held in October at Olde School, a favorite haunt of the city’s uniformed services.

Arnold asked not to be photographed as he spoke from his gleaming kitchen while wearing a black baseball cap with “OS” on the front and tending a pot of mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach.

All the bigger problems Wnek at the saloon have been fixed and the place is set to pass its re-inspection due next week, Arnold said.

Arnold uses what he described as the “roll up” method for silverware in other parts of the restaurant but not in the dining room. There he plans to leave the glasses and utensils in the more welcoming “exposed” condition.

Arnold said he was a great believer in what the sanitarians do.

State public health department spokesman William Gerrish provided the following citation from Section 19-13-B42(k) of the Public Health Code:

“After cleaning and until use, all food contact surfaces of equipment and multi-use utensils shall be so stored and handled as to be protected from contamination.”

28. Equipment/utensils storage, handling (1 demerit)

“a. Food-contact surfaces of cleaned and sanitized equipment and utensils shall be handled in such a manner so as to be protected from contamination. Cleaned spoons, knives, and forks shall be picked up and touched only by their handles. Clean food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils shall be handled so that fingers and thumbs do not contact inside surfaces or lip-contact surfaces.

“b. Cleaned, and cleaned and sanitized, portable equipment and utensils shall be stored above the floor in a clean, dry location, and suitable space and facilities shall be provided for such storage so that food-contact surfaces are protected from splash, dust, and other contamination. The food-contact surfaces of fixed equipment shall also be protected from splash, dust, and other contamination. Utensils shall be air dried before being stored, or shall be stored in a self-draining position on suitably located hooks or racks constructed of corrosion-resistant material. Wherever practicable, stored containers and utensils shall be covered or inverted. Facilities for the storage of flatware (silverware) shall be provided and shall be designed and maintained to present the handle to the employee or customer.

” c. Ice buckets, other containers and scoops shall be stored and handled in a sanitary manner.

” d. If ice crushers are used, they shall be maintained in a clean condition &covered when not in use.

” e. Pre-set tableware - acceptable if wrapped, covered, or inverted.

“We have to have rules, goals, and standards. But I’m willing not to be perfect,” said Arnold.

Following are the results of the latest inspections around town.

The Winners
12/26/2012: Advanced Nursing and Rehabilitation, 169 Davenport, Score: 87; Wok On In, 1409 Chapel St., Score: 84; J & J Deli & Grocery, 1379 Chapel St., Score: 90; Kudeta, 27 Temple St., Score: 80; Gennaro’s Apizza, 888 Howard Ave., Score: 80; Criterion Cinemas, 86 Temple St., Score: 87

12/27/2012: Carbonella & Desarbo, 307 Food Terminal Pl., Score: 89; Lamberti Packaging Co., 207 Food Terminal Pl., Score: 96; Carl’s Boned Chicken, Inc., 208 Food Terminal, Score: 96; L C Cash & Carry, LLC, 301 Food Terminal, Score: 87; Gracies Kitchen, 211 Food Terminal, Score: 96

12/28/2012: Taco Bell of America, 355 Foxon Blvd. Score: 94; Burger King #3186, 390 Foxon Blvd., Score: 86; Haven Food Stop, 339 Eastern St., Score: 85; Lupi Marchgiano Bakery, 169 Washington Ave., Score: 91; Super Deli 7, 1613 Chapel St., Score: 84; Broadway Pizza, 185 Derby Ave., Score: 80;

12/31-2012: Casa Market, 794 George St., Score: 80; Naturgene Herb Store, 75 Whitney Ave., Score: 93; Corner Deli, 181 Orange St., Score: 82; Manna Food Market, 374 Whitney Ave., Score: 85

The 2 Needing Improvement

During the Dec. 26 to Dec. 81 period, the following two failed their inspections:

Shop Mart
214 Edgewood Ave.
Score: 68
Due: 2 weeks

• No hand sink in front service area
• Stained cutting board, stained/pitted large cutting board table
• Food product out of original containers not labeled
• Ice build up in front cold case
• Soiled foil on shelves inside front cold case
• Provide a proper type thermometer for testing food product temperature
• Cardboard on door of front cold case
• Broken floor tiles, missing tiles
• Seal cement floor
• Stained, missing, falling ceiling tiles
• Store utensils handles up, eliminate damaged utensils
• Walls not clean, damaged wall
• Clear unnecessary articles in hand sink, must be available at all times
• No covered trash in toilet room
• No paper towels at hand sinks
• Eliminate piece of wood used for cutting board
• Thorough cleaning throughout necessary
• Bare wood in front of large cold case
• Eliminate all unnecessary articles
• Wilted peppers inside cold case
• Light shields missing on overhead bulbs above cold cases
• Eliminate cups as scoops, provide scoops with handles
• Don’t store scoops inside food product
• Mop not properly stored, must be hung
• Qualified Food Operator certificate not on premises, provide ASAP
• Personnel not washing hands

Olde School Saloon and Bistro
418 State St.
Score: 68
Due: 2 Weeks

• Wipe interior of coolers
• Touch up shelves, wipe shelves
• Fix defective flooring, clean floors under and around equipment
• Seal floor/wall junctions
• Clean tracks on slide doors
• Don’t line trays inside coolers with paper
• Pre-set tables w/exposed utensils and glasses
• Clean air vents, clean wall board
• Seal gaps on exterior doors
• Lower hot water in bathroom to in between110 and 115 degrees
• Don’t line shelves with cardboard or cloth, don’t line equipment with tin foil
• Don’t store food or drink under sewage lines, don’t store raw meats over ready to eat vegetables
• Don’t store food or drink on the floor
• Invert single serve containers
• Clean baffels on hood system
• Need thermometer in warmest location in coolers holding prepared hot foods
• Label product not in original containers
• Touch up defective exterior in equipment, wipe exterior of equipment
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Fruit flies in liquor bottles - destroyed on site
• Follow label instructions on products that state “keep refrigerated”—destroyed on site
•Fix leaky faucet
• Need soap and paper towel at bar hand sink
• Don’t use hand sink for any other purpose but hand washing

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posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 9, 2013  2:29pm

What is the point of the hand sink, anyway?  Some of these rules are just stupid (like the one about place settings), in my not-so-humble opinion.

posted by: streever on January 9, 2013  4:58pm

HEAVEN FORBID the cutlery be on the table, collecting germs, it should be wrapped in a napkin made in a factory overseas which may or may not be sanitary instead, where it can collect germs.

Thanks NHI for showcasing yet another dumb rule.

posted by: HhE on January 9, 2013  9:24pm

One of the surefire ways to tell upper class from lower is how they store their glasses:  up turned for upper, downward for lower.  I think it may come from; if someone else is keeping this house spotless, and my stemware is very delicate, vs. I got to clean this stuff myself, and how often to I wish to do that?

Some of the problems at Olde School actually are problems—some. 

Streever, I was also thinking of how to square Food Critic with Biggest Loser.  I’m down with the bike as I can go four an hour or two no problems.  Running?  Not so good.  I can just keep up with my five year olds, and after 100 yards, I’m thinking about a nap.

posted by: Stephen Harris on January 10, 2013  1:19pm

Well spoken David. Imagine what type of demerit a Russian place setting would earn.

Quelle Horreur!!

posted by: streever on January 10, 2013  2:27pm

This is an epic plan unfolding, I suspect our easiest way to keep our calories down will be to make it a trio of reviewers—we can invite Stephen Harris in the mix!

posted by: HhE on January 10, 2013  9:28pm

Streever (and Steven Harris), Tuesday night, when and where?

posted by: Stephen Harris on January 11, 2013  7:28am

How about the Olde School Saloon at 6:00pm.

posted by: HhE on January 11, 2013  9:33am

Stephen Harris and streever, see you there. 

I’ll bring sanitary wipes, just in case. 

I’ll be the mid 40s guy on a Pashley or Brompton, most likely wearing a cardigan.

posted by: streever on January 11, 2013  11:23am

I’ll be the slightly overweight guy with a receding hairline and a preference for upright glasses!

posted by: HhE on January 12, 2013  12:30pm

Yes, but you wear your residing hairline so well, just as I (tell myself) wear my extra weight better than my brother. 

I once thought about having an open house for all the NHI posters.  Then I worried about the fist fights.  My battle cry would have been, “Anecdotes only illustrate, they are a sample of one.”

posted by: Stephen Harris on January 15, 2013  7:20am

I have a planning and zoning meeting I have attend tonight. I’ll have to take a rain check.

Maybe we can plan something in the futur.

posted by: HhE on January 15, 2013  9:35am

Life gets in the way of life.  Streever, I am still game.  Steven Harris, what about a week from today, say at Cilantro, since that is the place that sort of started it all.

posted by: HhE on January 15, 2013  8:19pm

I have a new theory for the table settings:  logistics.  If during weeknights, you have one person in back cooking, and one person in the front tending bar, leaving out the place settings make the establishment look nicer without a lot of work.

posted by: Stephen Harris on January 15, 2013  10:00pm

Next Tuesday 7:00 pm at Cilantro is ok. I have no meeting to attend that night. David, the more the merrier!