Restaurant Report Card - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Restaurant Report Card

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In this week's edition of Restaurant Report Card, you'll find out how timing plays a role in a restaurant's health inspection. Restaurants don't know when a health inspector is dropping by, and sometimes, that means a bad review.

Timing just wasn't on our side when the West Acres Mall denied our request to check in with food court tenant Joe's Cajun Café when we told them it wasn't a good review. According to the Fargo Cass Public Health report, they were written up five times. Joe's Cajun Café earned a total of three critical violations and two minor violations from a November 5th inspection. The critical violations are for holding food on display at temperatures ranging from 119 to 128 degrees Fahrenheit. Public health code requires hot holding to be kept at 135 degrees or higher. The restaurant was also storing pop in the same ice cooler used to serve in drinks. The health inspector says ice used to cool cans cannot be used as food. The last critical violation is for employees eating the kitchen where food is prepared. The health inspector noted that all critical violations were corrected upon inspection.

Timing was hardly an excuse, however, for Season Buffet, who makes our report once again for the exact same critical violation. We reported in march, they had neglected to clean old food off their can opener. In September, they were cited again. The health inspector says this isn't safe because it can transfer old food from meal to meal.

Meanwhile, at Carol Widman's Candy Company, time is of the essence.

"We're like the farmers with their harvest," Carol Widman Kennedy said. "This is our harvest season."

Carol oversees the holiday sugar rush, a time when she has no trouble hitting the sack at the end of the day.

"We have to go like the wind and just make as much as we can," she said as her staff prepares for a busy gift-buying season.

In a store where everything you see is handmade, hand-cut and hand-dipped, Carol's business has been keeping the same health code standards for more than a century.

"To me, especially, anything food-related should be neat and clean," she said. "When you come into that store, you get an instant impression, so that's very important."

Our records prove it, her health inspection reports are spotless. For that, we grant her this week's Clean Plate Award.

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