Restaurants Exposed: Problems with coolers lead to health violations

September 01, 2017 10:06 PM

A restaurant’s coolers may be its most important appliances. But commercial coolers are not like your fridge, and they can sometimes fail to cool adequately when it's too hot in the kitchen. So it comes as no surprise that on a warm summer day, a number of restaurants were cited with critical violations for cranky coolers.

Lin's Garden on Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester may look like an old KFC, but the chicken served here has an Asian flair. In fact, the menu boasts cuisine covering countries from China to Thailand. Health inspectors recently cited it with three critical violations including food that wasn't cold enough.

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The owner, Vincent Lin said, "My cooler was not working properly. I called people to come and check, and they fixed it right away."

At Michael's Valley Grill on Penfield Road, the owner, Michael Petrillo also blames his violations on cranky coolers. Health inspectors cited him with two critical violations both involving his refrigeration equipment.   Petrillo says for one cooler, the fix was simple.

"We just moved the cooler out and cleaned the coils. We cleaned those coils out and the temperature went down immediately," said Petrillo. He says he's still waiting for parts to repair a second cooler.

At Shmeg's on Buffalo Road in Gates, again the problem was the cooler. While the fix was simple, health inspectors take food temperature seriously, citing the restaurant with two critical violations for food that wasn't cold enough and inadequate refrigeration.

One of the owners, Shawn Hoock said, "One of the fans wasn't spinning right. I didn't realize it."  He says he fixed it himself the same day.

And Will's Latino Paradise on Hudson Avenue in Rochester was cited with the same violations by health inspectors - food that wasn't cold enough, and inadequate refrigeration. Despite multiple calls to the restaurant, News10NBC was not able to catch up with the owner.

We love it when viewers send questions to News10NBC consumer investigators. Viewer Daryl Smith asked, "Why do some restaurants set tables with dirty silverware?  Is there a legal protocol for that? I was just about to eat with a dirty fork the other day.  Is there also legal protocol for keeping restrooms in restaurants clean?"

The answer is yes. Health inspectors do cite restaurants with dirty silverware or dirty bathrooms with non-critical violations.  But restaurant owners tell News10 NBC silverware and bathroom cleanliness are key.

With their help, here's Deanna's Do List.

1. Check the Restrooms.

2. Check the tables and silverware.

3. Check the floors. Restaurant owners say if restrooms, silverware and floors are dirty, it’s likely the kitchen is dirty too. 

4. Visit during peak days and hours – Wednesday through Saturday during the dinner hour

5. Check the restaurant’s inspection report.

6. If you see something, report it.


Deanna Dewberry

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