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Vandome’s Clean; Restaurants Flunk

by Uma Ramiah | Apr 1, 2011 2:21 pm

(4) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Food, Health

Uma Ramiah Photo Brian Wnek didn’t notice the stacks of money being counted by rubber glove-clad owners in the middle of the dance floor. He was busy looking for fruit flies in liquor bottles—and marveling at the restrooms.

“Very nice,” he said to himself, holding a clipboard in the men’s bathroom. “These look really good.”

An inspector with New Haven’s health department, Wnek found himself at Club Vandome. On his last rounds for the day, he was checking up on sanitary conditions at New Haven’s food-serving establishments.

After an hour of scrutiny, he gave the nightclub a solid rating: 89 out of 100. The Wicked Wolf bar downtown also got a high score. But when inspectors popped in on some popular restaurants, grading got tough. Some were issued failing grades along with a two-week deadline to clean up. (For a detailed list of the latest health inspection reports, scroll down in this story.)

Wnek and two other health department inspectors rate all of New Haven’s food establishments, from upscale bistros to the food carts at Long Wharf to the bars on Crown Street, at least once a year. They check on conditions from food safety and temperature to broken ceiling tiles at 15 to 20 sites a week.

“You never really know what the day is going to bring,” he said. “It’s fun.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Wnek set out on his rounds sporting a dark blue New Haven Health Department cap, clipboard in hand.

First stop: Lindley Food Services on Wallace Street. No one answered the door.

“They’re usually working in the mornings,” Wnek said, hopping back into his city issued car.

Next on the list: Club Vandome on Hamilton Street—in the same neighborhood—a Class 3 establishment.

Restaurants are classified into four groups according to Connecticut state statute. Class 1 includes places serving only prepackaged food, while Class 2 spots might also serve cold sandwiches or hot dogs, for example. Classes 3 and 4 serve hot food: if the food is kept for under four hours, it’s Class 3. Over four hours: Class 4. Most restaurants are in either Class 3 or 4.

Yearly inspections fall under those categories too: A Class 1 establishment is inspected once a year, a Class 2 twice, etc.

“Classes 3 and 4 places are required to take a class called ‘Qualified Food Operator,’ through the state,” Wnek explained. “So they’re trained as to how to keep food healthy and safe.”

Much of what he does in a routine health inspection is reminding owners and managers what they learned in that course.

“And I always encourage them to call me with questions whenever they have them,” he said. “I’d rather help them find a way to improve and get up to standard than find a problem when I get there.”

“Tiny” Waves Him In

Wnek encountered a locked front door upon arriving at Vandome, too. He circled to the back where shipments of liquor were being delivered. An imposing bouncer called Tiny greeted him.

Tiny wasn’t expecting Wnek; he conducts surprise inspections. But he was gracious, giving Wnek an immediate, full run of the cavernous space.

Turns out, businesses are pretty open to health inspectors. “They understand that we have a code to enforce, and that we’re here for everyone’s safety,” Wnek said, ducking under a counter to check behind one of Vandome’s numerous bars.

He started with Vandome’s “Warehouse,” a garage-like dance space with high ceilings, cement floors and two bars.

“Obviously it’s a bit of a different process for a bar than a kitchen,” he said. The bar still needs to be clean, he said. He checked surfaces for stickiness, floors for dirt, and the liquor bottles for flies and any signs of cloudiness or contamination. They were all clear.

“We have to ensure wholesomeness of whatever is being consumed,” he said, repeating the process behind the three bars in the main room of the club.

Pointing to the ceiling, he noted that bulbs should have shields on them. “In case they happen to break, so no one gets hurt,” he said. Vandome was good on shields.

Sanitarians check for general cleanliness, too. That includes bathrooms. Wnek headed there next, walking through the main room where owners were counting money, clad in rubber gloves.

“The walls in here look really good,” he said, inspecting the men’s lounge. He checked the sinks for hot water (as he’d done behind each bar), and made sure each toilet flushed properly, pronouncing both the men’s and women’s public bathrooms satisfactory. But the staff bathroom, he noted, marking it down on his clipboard, was in need of a self closing door and a covered trash can.

“Also one thing they’ll need to do is clean the air vents,” he said, pointing once more to the ceiling. Most service establishments get that note in their inspections. “They get dusty so fast.”

He headed to the kitchen next—a small and seemingly spotless, stainless steel affair.

“We don’t do too much food,” said Tiny, occasionally popping up to make sure Wnek had enough light. “Mostly just bar snacks, quick prepare foods, that sort of thing.”

The senior sanitarian was happy with the kitchen. He noted a digital thermometer on the outside of the refrigerator. “That’s great,” he said. Food temperatures—inside and out of the fridge and freezer—are critical for health standards.

He noted that boxes of maraschino cherries should be moved from the ground, where they were stacked, to a higher shelf. “No food or drink on the ground,” he said.

“But I like that sign,” he said, pointing out a note meant for employees.

Overall, Wnek praised the conditions at Vandome.

Tiny explained that the club sees a high volume of customers on weekend nights, so the owners work extra hard to keep the place clean. “The bartenders and staff are all well trained in clean up duties,” he said. “We’re here every night well past closing cleaning up.”

Once finished, Wnek walked one of Vandome’s managers through the score, explaining in detail what needed to be changed.

“But overall, very nice,” he said, giving the club that score of 89. “And most of these improvements are minor, and could be fixed within a day or two.”

A lot of the places he inspects do follow up on what he tells them needs to change, but some don’t, Wnek said.

“We expect the big issues will be fixed by the next time we come around,” he said, hopping back in the car. “We realize it takes money, but it’s all part of the process. We look for progress.”

Inspections

Establishments with a grade of 80 or below are given two weeks to improve before a second inspection visit. The department can close a restaurant regardless of score in the face of immediate dangers to public health.

Inspectors also check on food operations at public schools twice a year.

The following establishments were inspected Mar. 14 - Feb. 18.

3/14
C.O. Jones, 969 State St.
Score: 80/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Seal wallboard junctions/clean air vents/touch up defective build structures
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Cover exposed food product
• Refill soap & paper towel at front bar
• Invert single serve plates
• Touch up defective flooring
• Need thermostat in warmest location in cooler holding preheated food
• Clean interior of coolers and microwave
• Lower hot water in bathroom to between 110 and 115 degrees (at 120 now)
• Label toxic items in spray bottles/don’t store toxic items with food product on shelf (fixed onsite)
• Seal gaps on bottom of doors

3/14
Barcelona Wine Bar, 155 Temple St.
Score: 81/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Label product not in original container
• Keep shellfish tags with product until used
• Fix defective gasket in doors/touch up exterior of defective equipment
• Need soap at front hand sink
• Don’t line drawers with cloth/don’t wrap equipment with tin foil
• Store equipment in a sanitary manner/don’t stack exposed utensils
• Need thermostat in warmest location in coolers holding pre-heated food
• Clean interior of coolers, freezers, microwaves, etc.
• Clean tracks on slide doors/clean shelves/clean gaskets on doors
• Touch up & clean ceilings/clean wallboards
• Cover exposed food product/do’t store food or drink on the floor
• No drinking from uncovered drink containers in food prep area
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Lower hot water in bathroom to between 110 and 115 degrees (now 140)
• Need covered trash can in employee bathroom/touch up rusty stalls in bathroom/fix defective sink basin in bathroom
• Touch up defective flooring/clean floors under and around equipment
• Clean air vents/touch up defective building structure (i.e. seat covers, wall junctions, etc)
• Fix defective shower

3/14
Wicked Wolf, 144 Temple St.
Score: 93/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Fix defective gasket on doors/clean gaskets on doors
• Touch up defective walls/water stained ceiling tiles
• Seal floor/wall junctions
• Seal gaps on exterior doors
• Fix defective flooring.clean floors under and around equipment
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Fix defective urinal (small crack in bowl)
• Touch up exterior of defective equipment/clean exterior of equipment

3/16
Long Wharf Theatre I, 222 Sargent Dr.
Score: 93/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Fix defective exterior of equipment/wipe exterior of equipment
• Fix defective shelves
• Touch up defective flooring/clean floors under and around equipment
• Clean interior of coolers and freezer
• Invert single serve plates and bowls

3/16
Manjares, 838 Whalley Ave.
Score: 74/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Move thermometer to warmest location in coolers holding pre-heated food
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Hand sink should only be used for hand washing - not for storing equipment inside or washing equipment
• Clean interior of coolers and freezers
• Don’t store food or drink on the floor (i.e. beer on the floor at bar)
• Clean gasket on doors/fix defective gasket on doors
• Invert single serve containers
• Don’t use small cap as scoop for food
• Cover exposed food and drink products
• Need soap and paper towel at bar hand sink
• Need no smoking sign on entrance
• Clean floors under and around equipment
• Clean buffets on hood system/wipe exterior of equipment/touch up defective exterior of equipment
• Wipe wallboard (i.e.. under 3 bay sink and sides)
• Don’t store toxic items with food product—corrected onsite

3/18
Kudeta, 27 Temple St.
Score: 84/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Don’t store food or drink on the floor
• Hang up mops and brooms
• Fix defective gaskets on doors/clean gaskets on doors
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Cover exposed food product
• Store utensils in a sanitary manner
• Label product not in original containers
• Touch up wall paint in areas/wipe clean wall board
• Move thermostat to warmest location in coolers holding pre-heated food
• Clean floors under and around equipment/touch up defective flooring
• Seal gap on exterior door
• Refill paper towel dispenser at front hand sink in kitchen
• Wipe interior of cooler

3/21
Pacifico Group, Inc., 220 College St.
Score: 73/100
Corrections due: 2 weeks
• Label product not in original container
• Keep cold pre heated food less than 45 degrees/eggs on counter - destroyed onsite
• Raise hot water temp at employee hand sink to minimum 110 degrees
• Fix defective gasket on doors/clean gaskets on doors
• Keep shellfish tags with product until used and then for 90 days
• Need thermostat in coolers holding pre-heated food, in warmest location
• Don’t wrap equipment with tin foil
• Fix defective wall tiles/clean ceiling tiles/clean air vents/fix defective ceiling tiles
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Keep windows closed or install screens
• Fix defective floor/wall junctions (tiles)
• Pre-set tables with exposed utensils
• Minimize hand contact with ready to eat foods/don’t use plastic cups as scoops
• Keep wipe cloths in sanitary solution in between uses
• Clean interior of coolers, freezers, etc
• Add scoop to rear hand sink
• Clean floors under and around equipment/fix defective flooring
• Hang up mops and brooms
• Fix exterior of defective equipment/clean exterior of equipment
• Touch up railings on bar
• Cover exposed food product
• Touch up defective building structure (doors, door cases, etc)
• Fix defective plastic on interior of coolest freezer (re: basement freezer)

3/21
Prime 16, 172 Temple St.
Score: 77/100
Corrections due: 2 weeks
• Refill paper towel dispenser at hand sink
• Fix defective gasket on doors/clean gaskets on doors
• Clean interior of coolers and freezers
• Clean air vent cover in walk in
• Hang up mops and brooms
• Clean air vents/touch up defective walls, ceilings and wall boards
• Label toxic items in spray bottles - corrected onsite
• Lower hot water in bathroom to between 110 and 115 degrees (now at 134)
• Need no smoking sign on front entrance
• Don’t use cap as a scoop for food
• Label product not in original container
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Clean floors under and around equipment/fix defective flooring
• Touch up exterior of defective equipment/clean exterior of equipment
• Secure hand sink firmly to wall in bathroom
• Pre-set tables with exposed utensils

3/21
Bella Haven’s Pizza, 240 College St.
Score: 80/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Cover exposed food product/keep door shut on install rodent control
• Refill paper towel on hand sink
• Clean floors under and around equipment
• Seal floor/wall junctions
• Don’t wrap equipment with tin foil
• Don’t line shelves in cooler with cardboard
• Invert single serve equipment
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Clean buffets in hood system/clean tracks in slide cooler doors
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Need thermostat in warmest location in coolers holding pre-heated food
• Clean wall boards
• Clean interior of coolers and freezers/clean soda and juice racks in coolers
• Clean air vents/fix defective air vent/need covered trash can in bathroom for feminine products/fix defective handicap railing by toilet
• Refill paper towels
• Invert single serve containers
• Fix defective exterior of equipment/clean exterior of equipment/fix defective interior of chest freezer
• Label product not in original containers
• Hang up mops and brooms

3/22
Mamoun’s Falafel
Score: 73/100
Corrections due: 2 weeks
• Hand sink must be accessible at all times, eliminate all obstructing equipment. Employees must wash hands!
• Provide soap and paper towels with holder at hand sink
• Eliminate soiled wiping cloths
• Properly store cleaning equipment, hang mops and brooms
• Store wiping cloths in sanitizer when not in use
• Moldy tomatoes in refrigerator
• Properly label food product out of original containers
• Eliminate newspaper covering food
• Clean and sanitize knife holder
• Eliminate soiled wooden shelf
• Clean dry goods containers
• Replace stained and pitted cutting board
• Clean walls and hand sink wood
• Repair damaged walls, provide floor/wall juncture
• Eliminate all unnecessary articles
• Provide a complete separation of food service articles and non-food service articles
• Properly label toxic items
• Lettuce brown - thrown away onsite
• Replace broken fridge gaskets
• Repair damaged counter
• Clean inside refrigerators and doors
• Eliminate soiled boxes with take out cups in them
• Soiled wooden shelves, replace
• Clean shelves
• Provide a covered trash in the women’s bathroom

3/22
Miya’s Sushi, 68 Howe St.
Score: 83/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Clean floor around grease bin in basement/clean floors throughout in basement
• Provide light shields on overhead bulbs in basement
• Clean outside of storage bins
• Eliminate cups as scoops, provide scoops with handles
• Do not store scoops inside food product
• Clean and repaint shelves of walk-in, paint or shellac bare wood shelves
• Repair damaged wall and floor juncture
• Properly label food product out of original containers, store wiping cloths in sanitizer when not in immediate use
• Store single service articles inverted
• Stained/missing ceiling tiles
• Clean floors under and behind equipment
• Provide paper towel holders at hand sinks
• Clean walls
• Damaged faucet in women’s bathroom
• Leaking hose on toilet, repair
• Provide a covered trash in women’s bathroom

3/23
Thali Regional Cuisine, 4 Orange St.
Score: 83/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Clean interior of coolers/freezers
• Clean tracks on slide doors
• Touch up defective walls and ceilings/clean ceilings
• Fix defective flooring/clean floors under around equipment/clean air vents
• Don’t use plastic cup as scoop in food product
• Clean wallboard/water stained ceiling tiles/fix defective wallboard junction
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Hang up mops/brooms
• Move thermostat to warmest location in coolers holding pre-heated food
• Lower hot water in bath to between 110 and 115 degrees, now at 126
• Label product not in original container
• Cover exposed food product/don’t store food or drink on floor
• Don’t line shelves with towels or tin foil/don’t line drawers with towels

3/23
Yale Commons Dining Hall, 168 Grove St.
Score: 75/100
Corrections due: 2 weeks
• Clean floors in walk-in freezer, under shelves in storage
• Chipping paint on window sills/wells, ceilings, walls
• Clean and sanitize rolling carts
• Provide light shields on overhead bulbs in storage
• Repair damaged walls
• Chipping paint on large mixer
• Clean inside utensil drawers
• Store utensil handles facing same direction
• Clean rent grates near hood, clean ceilings
• Replace damaged ceiling tiles
• Eliminate damaged utensils
• Replace broken refrigerator gaskets
• Store wiping cloths in sanitizer
• Provide adequate hand sinks in all areas
• Damaged insulation near kettles
• Eliminate soiled/pitted cutting boards
• Provide back flow prevention on red hose
• Clear hand sinks of unnecessary articles, must be used for hand washing only
• Properly store cleaning equipment, hang brooms and mops
• Eliminate soiled cardboard lining shelves
• Provide paper towel holder at hand sink on line upstairs
• Provide a complete separation of employee food/beverage and establishment product
• Provide thermometers inside all cold holding units
• Provide paper towels at hand sink in Yale Express
• Provide a sweep on the rear exit door near Yale Express
• Clean floors throughout, under and behind, edges, etc.
• Eliminated soiled and damaged wiping cloths

3/24
Omni New Haven Hotel Banquet, 155 Temple St.
Score: 87/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Fix defective gasket on doors/clean gaskets on doors
• Clean air vents/fix defective walls/wipe wall behind stove
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Clean tracks on slide doors
• Touch up exterior of defective equipment/clean exterior of equipment
• Clean fans
• Seal floor/wall junctions
• Clean floors under and around equipment/touch up defective floors
• Clean interior of hot box
• Rodent droppings noticed in alcohol room
• Fruit flies in liquor bottles - 4 bottles destroyed onsite

3/24
Sahara Middle Eastern Cuisine, 170 Temple St.
Score: 68/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Clean tracks on slide doors
• Clean soda and juice racks in coolers/clean interior of coolers and freezers
• Touch up defective shelves/clean shelves
• Touch up defective gaskets on doors/clean gaskets on doors
• Need thermometer in warmest locations in coolers storing pre-heated food
• Cover exposed food product/don’t store raw eggs over ready to eat foods
• Store wipe cloths in sanitary solution
• Refill paper towel dispenser at hand sink - corrected onsite
• Employees must wash hands before putting on gloves - addressed and corrected onsite
• Don’t store items inside hand sink
• Clean buffets on hood systems
• Hair restraints
• Fix defective flooring/clean floors under and around equipment
• Fix damaged wall tiles/fix defective walls and ceilings
• Rodent droppings present
• Fix defective plastic lip on freezer
• Touch up exterior of defective equipment/clean exterior of equipment
• Hand sink cannot be used as dump sink
• Seal floor/wall junctions
• Invert single serve containers

3/25
Bulldog Burrito, 320 Elm St.
Score: 85/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Clear hand sink of unnecessary articles, must be used for hand washing only
• Provide paper towels in holder, repair broken holder
• Replace broken refrigerator gaskets, clean gaskets
• Eliminate cups/bowls as scoops, provide scoops with handles
• Do not store scoops inside food product
• Cover all food product during storage
• Store wiping cloths in sanitizer
• Clean outside of dry good bins
• Eliminate duct tape on refrigerator door
• Clean floors under and behind equipment
• Properly store cleaning equipment, hang mops and brooms
• Provide a covered trash in women’s bathroom
• Provide paper towel holder in women’s bathroom and by beverages
• Clean walls
• Hand sink in front must be accessible at all times, eliminate all obstructions
• Eliminate soiled cardboard on shelves
• Stained cutting board, replace if necessary
• Paint of shellac bare wood surfaces
• Provide light shields on overhead bulbs in basement
• Uneven /damaged floors in basement

3/25
Ivy Noodle, 316 Elm St.
Score: 82/100
Corrections due: ASAP
• Provide light shields on overhead bulbs
• Clean walls and doors
• Hand sink in basement must be used for hand washing only
• Properly store cleaning equipment, hang mops/brooms
• Provide a complete separation of food service articles and non-food service articles
• Clean exterior of lift up freezers (all)
• Eliminate all unnecessary articles in basement
• Cover food product during storage
• Clean wire shelves in walk-in
• Rusty shelves in walk-in
• Clean dry good shelves
• Repair damaged walls
• Clean and sanitize top of ice cooler
• Provide a splash guard between hand sink and prep table
• Clean and sanitize sinks and faucets
• Clean microwave
• Provide thermometers inside all cold holding units
• Clean all equipment and shelves
• Replace stained, pitted cutting board
• Properly label food product out of original containers
• Clean outside of trash containers in kitchen and bathrooms
• Provide adequate hot water in men’s bathroom

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Comments

posted by: visitor on April 1, 2011  2:57pm

thanks for this great info! i’d like to see this info for all restaurants!

well written, too!

posted by: sam on April 4, 2011  4:30am

5 days later and no fire damage 27 Temple st

posted by: newhaven55 on April 4, 2011  10:38am

Does the Health Inspector usually lean on and write on the food prep table???  Why isn’t he wearing gloves?

posted by: Robert Potter on April 7, 2011  8:22pm

Prime 16 was reinspection on April 7th with a score of 88….. noting that during the initial inspection, failed to notice the no smoking sign in the front window .... which was a 3 point deduction. We were also happy to hear from Brian Wnek that Prime 16 is his wife’s favorite restaurant as they’ve been in numerous times to eat.

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