Restaurants Exposed: Restaurants cited for fridges on the fritz

September 29, 2017 08:14 PM

Keeping food cold enough is essential to keeping you safe. That's why a fridge on the fritz will get a restaurant slapped with a critical violation.  And that's why nearly all the restaurants in this report were cited. But one restaurant owner believes in their case, the citation is ridiculous.

The owners of Addis Ababa Restaurant are passionate about bringing food from the horn of Africa to upstate New York - saying that passion translates on the tables of the Ethiopian restaurant.
But recently health inspectors cited them with two critical violations one of which was for a cooler that wasn't working. The owner’s sister, Selamawit Gobena, argues the citation was unfair explaining, "The (non-working) fridge was empty. We weren't using the fridge because we were waiting for it to be repaired."  She argues and all the food was in a fridge that was working just fine.

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She's just one of many restaurant owners who complains Monroe County's new health inspectors take the letter of health code a bit too far.  I took those concerns to the Dr. Michael Mendoza, the Monroe County Health Commissioner. 

"If I had to err on the side of one or the other, I would rather that they be a little bit more picky and take advantage of the mentorship we have here in the health department to make sure that we keep the public safe," said Dr. Mendoza.

Just hours from the Canadian border, Sticky Lips serves up food with a southern flare. But health inspectors served the location on Jefferson Road with four critical violations including food that wasn't hot enough, and refrigeration that wasn't working.

The owner, Howard Nielsen, told News10NBC "You don't have to worry about this restaurant.  We are very proactive.  Everything was fixed the very next day."

Inspectors found no critical violations at a re-inspection a couple of weeks later.

A fridge on the fritz was also the problem at Macgregor's Grill and Tap. Inspectors cited it with two critical violations involving its refrigeration equipment.  Greg Lalyk, the restaurants general manager, told News10NBC "The equipment was fixed the following day and we implemented new procedures."

At the Soup Spoon on Mount Hope, the problem was food temperature. Inspectors cited it with three critical violations including food that wasn't cold enough and food that wasn't cooled properly.

No one returned News10NBC’s repeated calls to the restaurant.

Before you go out to eat, here’s Deanna’s Do List.

1. Check the restaurants inspection record.
2. If you see a problem, report it.


Deanna Dewberry

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