Mai Kai Polynesian among restaurants cited by state inspectors

Critical violations of state sanitation and safety laws observed last week by inspectors at three South Florida restaurants prompted the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation to cite the owners and briefly suspend operations, reports show.

The high priority violations and some intermediate violations found by inspectors at each place are listed below. To see one of DBPR’s full reports, please search our database.

Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant, 3599 N. Federal Highway, Oakland Park was closed April 24 after an inspector observed violations that included: Food held at improper temperatures and a stop sale order was issued; the establishment was not maintaining tags for 90 days for mussels; non-exempt, raw salmon served in sushi rolls had not undergone proper parasite destruction; ham, cheese, beef, duck, seafood and plant foods were held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit; prime rib was discarded because it was not cooled from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees within a total of six hours; raw beef was stored over ice cream; the certified food manager or person in charge lacked knowledge of the employee health policy and health requirements; an employee failed to wash hands before putting on gloves to work with food; two coolers were not maintaining proper temperatures; a vacuum breaker was missing at a hose bibb; 20 fresh and dry rodent droppings were in storage areas; a dozen roaches were seen, including one in the ice crusher and one on a prep table, and there were small flying insects were in the bar area.

The business met inspection standards on April 25 and was allowed to reopen when it was found conditions were no longer a threat to public health and safety.


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“We are completely committed to our guests’ safety and well-being and we did everything we could to address the situation,” said Pia Dahlquist, Mai Kai’s director of sales and marketing. “Of course we were open the next day. We’ve been here since 1956, and we are a large restaurant, committed to making every night a wonderful experience for our customers as we have for 58 years, and we will continue to do so.”

Church’s Chicken #536, 17331 U.S. Highway 1 south, Miami was closed April 25 after an inspector observed violations that included: Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food prepared on site, held more than 24 hours that was not properly date-marked; a dead garden worm was under cooking equipment and a live rodent crossed from one side of the kitchen floor to the other.

The business was allowed to reopen April 26 when it was found conditions were no longer a threat to public health and safety. The manager declined to comment.

A restaurant in the Grand Beach Hotel, 4835 Collins Ave., Miami Beach was closed April 21 after an inspector observed violations that included: Potentially hazardous food was held at improper temperatures and a stop sale order was issued; an employee failed to wash hands before putting on a new set of gloves to work with food; 10 dead roaches were in a glue trap in the bar area; more than 31 live roaches were on the premises; the manager lacked proof of food manager certification and no required proof of approved, employee training was provided for employees.  

The business was allowed to reopen April 22 when it was found conditions were no longer a threat to public health and safety. Harald Bindeus, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, said about the restaurant at the hotel, Chez Gaston, “The issue has been resolved. There is no further comment beyond that.”

The Crime & Safety blog reports on inspections of South Florida dining spots as the state pursues its goal to visit Florida’s 47,800 licensed restaurants.

If you're going out to eat, search our restaurant databases before you leave home.

The state says it's not the number of violations that will cause a restaurant to be temporarily shut down, but rather the nature of what an inspector finds that merits closing a business.

After a restaurant is shuttered, an inspector typically visits again within 24 hours and continues to visit until violations are resolved and the business can reopen. Repeat critical violations can lead to fines levied by the state.

If a bad dining experience makes you feel ill, it’s easy to complain to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation by calling 850-487-1395 or by filing a report online at MyFloridaLicense.com.  But beware: that’s not the place for personal vendettas. False reports can lead to misdemeanor charges.

And if you haven’t checked out a bistro’s inspection history online before making a reservation, state law requires restaurants to provide customers with a copy.