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Caught on camera: Workers bare handing food & one restaurant with 44 violations

11:12 AM, Sep 27, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Gross Gallery: 100's of DMV Restaurant Suspensions
 PDF Document: La Palapa III Closure 9 9 2013  PDF Document: Donut King Closure 9 9 2013  PDF Document: New Fortune Closure 9 12 2013  PDF Document: Steamers Seafood House Closure 9 11 2013

Washington, DC (WUSA9) - Caught on camera, restaurant workers touching food with unwashed hands, and suspensions ranging from roaches to rodents to refrigeration in this week's Restaurant Alert.

Click here to see photos from this week's Restaurant Alert and hundreds of other DC area closures.

Inspectors temporarily closed: LA Café, 1825 I St NW, DC; DC Coast, 1401 K Street, NW, DC; At Home Catering, 2901 Georgia Ave, NW, DC; Donut King, 3727 University Blvd, W Kensington, Md., La Palapa III, 13816 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, Md., Steamers Seafood House, 4820 Auburn Avenue, Bethesda, Md., New Fortune, 16515 S. Frederick Road, Gaithersburg, Md., Romantica Pizzeria Deli, 9906 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, Va.

All the establishments, except At Home Catering, passed re-inspections and are back in business.

To know about health department closure orders first, follow@russptacek on Twitter or like Russ Ptacek on Facebook.

44 violations at New Fortune

Among the worst of the citations at New Fortune on South Frederick Road in Gaithersburg, a "severe roach infestation."  The inspection report cites "live roaches of all life stages."

Inspectors also observed roaches in refrigerators, inside the microwave, on food contact surfaces, in the utensil drawer and on the mixer.  Officials also reported "a dead roach observed in a container of oil."

Another violation inspectors reported was "storing containers of food on the floor in the walk in refrigerator." WUSA9 saw the same problem too.

Inspectors also reported the rear screen door in disrepair. The screen wasn't fixed when WUSA9 was there but the owner told us he planned to fix it.

At New Fortune, inspectors also reported a hand washing sink was not accessible and WUSA9 observed the same issue as well.

On camera, Romantica Pizza by Slice worker touches food

In Great Falls, Virginia, inspectors temporarily closed Romantica Pizzeria Deli on Georgetown Pike for not staffing anyone trained in food safety.

Officials cited the pizza shop with 9 other violations including hot foods at improper temperatures, a food employee cleaning their hands in a food prep sink and an employee handling food with bare hands.

When WUSA 9 visited, our cameras documented the cashier at Romantica touching a slice of pizza with his bare hands.

The worker refused our repeated request to speak with his manager and called the police.

Video: Donut King worker cracks eggs and touches bread with unwashed hands

In Kensington, inspectors closed Donut King on University Boulevard for operating with inadequate refrigeration.

Inspectors noted food in the walk in refrigerator ranging from 45 to 49 degrees.  Temperatures experts say could make you sick. 

But when WUSA9 checked, the unit was cooling correctly.

However, WUSA9 spotted a potential problem on the cook's line at Donut King.  

Our crew observed a cook handling a potentially hazardous food, fresh eggs, with bare hands and then handling other food. 

According to food safety experts, that's a potential cross contamination food safety hazard.

La Palapa III mouse infestation

In Silver Spring, inspectors closed La Palapa III for operating without hot water and for a mouse infestation in the walk in unit.

When WUSA9 checked the water temperature hit 100 degrees  and the refrigeration unit was pest free.

L.A. Cafe cited for vermin infestation

In the District on I Street, NW, inspectors closed L.A. Café citing gross unsanitary conditions that may endanger the public's health and a heavy infestation of vermin.
 
In the 13 violation notice, inspectors reported mice droppings inside on the shelf in the sushi prep area and food items held at improper temperatures.  Including sushi and egg rolls.

L.A. Café's owner wouldn't allow our cameras inside the restaurant.

DC Coast "may endanger public health" violation

Right around corner on K Street, NW, inspectors closed DC Coast for operating with circumstances that may endanger the public's health.
 
Officials hit DC Coast with 14 violations noting food at improper temperatures, such as tuna refrigerated at 55 degrees.  The place was also cited for "no adequate hot water....in some sinks."

In a statement, DC Coast said, "it was unfortunate that at the time they arrived we had a refrigeration equipment failure and the special part was on a delivery truck coming to us within hours." 

At Home Catering cited with 33 violations

On Georgia Avenue, NW inspections closed At Home Catering  with 33 violations including roaches, the dishwasher machine being out of order and no basic business license available.

When WUSA9 visited At Home Catering no one answered a knock at the door.  We also tried ringing a door bell and calling.  We got no response.

Steamers Seafood House cited for roach/fly infestation

In Bethesda, a complaint drew inspectors to Steamers Seafood House on Auburn Avenue. 
  
Officials shut the seafood place down citing 26 violations ranging from food equipment being "soiled and not properly sanitized....frozen foods not frozen in the freezer." 

Employees not properly washing their hands and a "heavy roach and fly infestation."

Steamers owner, Bill LeStrange, told WUSA9 all the violations have been corrected, most were administrative issues, and he blamed the pest and debris problems on a large construction site right next door to the restaurant.

LeStrange said he hoped that people will continue to come back. Steamers doesn't feel like it has anything to hide and it was sorry that this happened. LeStrange also told WUSA9 he thought it's being blown a little bit out of proportion.

Air date: September 26, 2013


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