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Restaurant Report Card: Grand Buffet Forced to Close - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Restaurant Report Card: Grand Buffet Forced to Close

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This week for our Restaurant Report Card, we looked at a restaurant we already profiled. It is one that had major violations in April.

You may have recently seen a sign on Grand Buffet's door saying, "Closed for kitchen remodel. Sorry!"

Our reporter dug through the latest health inspection reports and found that there is more behind the sign than what you read.

Steve VanGorkom was one person that found the closed doors when heading out for lunch. "I'm up here on business in Fargo and needed to have some place to eat," he said.

VanGorkom saw the sign and started to second guess what he read. He said, "That all goes through your mind whether or not it's true or not."

This time his skepticism was right. "We really hadn't seen any improvement. In fact it probably slid a little back," said Myron Berglund with Fargo Cass Public Health. 

Grand Buffet originally had a health inspection in April. In that report, several serious and repeat violations arose. Many floors were in disrepair. Flypaper was located over the food preparation area. There was grease and food buildup in several spots. No dates could be found on some food items, and cold food was too warm. 

The first time we did the Restaurant Report Card on Grand Buffet, our reporter personally spoke to the owner who said the flypaper was removed from the top of the Mongolian grill, things were cleaned and the food would be at the proper temperature. The owner added that customers should feel safe eating there.

The flypaper was removed, and the health of customers was never in danger, but those are the only two things that held true.

"The critical items were repeated again. The labeling. The floor and cleaning in the floor in the kitchen and housekeeping in the kitchen also needed much more attention," said Berglund.

The health inspectors tried working with the restaurant, helping them set up cleaning schedules and teaching employees food regulations. In the end, however, they asked the restaurant to close voluntarily for five days to get things in order.

Berglund said, "But again they opened this weekend, and after they opened this weekend, we composed a letter to suspend the license."

This was not an easy choice. "We have exhausted just about everything we know, such as the retraining of them, self inspections and voluntary closure to see if they can get things in order," explained Berglund.

It was one that needed to be made though, and it was a decision several people, including VanGorkom, seem to support.

"If they find violations, whether or not it's cleanliness or food or whatever...yeah, they need to get shut down," said VanGorkom.

Grand Buffet has 10 days to file a request to dispute the suspension. At that point, the owner will have a hearing with the health inspectors to plead his case for reopening.

Of course, nearly all of the restaurants in the area do not come close to this type of situation. In fact, many of them do not have violations at all. For that we hand out our Clean Plate award.

This week's award goes to Mom's Diner. On its last inspection Mom's had no violations.

One of the owners, Rick Nymark, said it is a nice recognition, but he has to give all the credit to his employees for working so hard through the years.

"We have been here since 1983. So yes, that's a very long time, and we've been successful. So we appreciate all of our customers, and we hope that they have a certain level of confidence when they come in here that we are doing something reflective of this award," he said.

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