15 Fairfield businesses fail health inspections in August and September

FAIRFIELD — Fifteen businesses in the city failed health inspections in August and September, though most have since passed or are correcting the problems, according to the health department.

Since the initial inspection, nine of the 11 businesses that failed in August have passed the follow-up inspections. Two others have had renovation plans approved by the health department or are working to address the issues. Four of the restaurants that went bankrupt in September are awaiting re-inspection.

A business fails the health check when it scores below 80 or has a four-point violation.

Establishments that previously failed in August then passed re-inspection include Candlewood Market, The Tasty Yolk, Carolton Chronic Convalescent, Milkcraft, Robeks Fresh Juices and Smoothies, Southport Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Whale Tea, The Spice Club and Brooklawn Country Club Kitchen and Snack Bar.

The owner of Yalla Organic has met with the health department, according to Assistant Director of Environmental Health Rob Guerrera, and is still working on several issues since it failed inspections in July, August and September. He said Centro Ristorante, which also failed in August, has developed a renovation plan that the department has approved.

Three other restaurants that failed in September and are awaiting re-inspections are Bagel King of Fairfield, Duchess Restaurant and Billy’s Bakery. Panera Bread passed the re-inspection.

Centro Ristorante failed an Aug. 1 inspection with a 69. During that inspection, Centro had four demerit points for improper food temperature, improper hand-washing procedure and chemical storage issues. The report noted that multiple units in the restaurant did not maintain temperature and that the hand sink was blocked.

At the time, owner Susan Dederick said she had new cold storage equipment on order for six months and that it would be delivered in September. When called Thursday, Centro’s voice mail said the restaurant was closed as it was renovating the kitchen.

Candlewood Market failed Aug. 16 with a score of 87, according to a health department report. There is one four-point violation for improperly storing cold oil and lesser violations for issues such as where he kept wipes and lack of employee training records. Improper oil storage also earned them a poor rating at an inspection in July.

Candlewood’s owner, Tony Inzero, said they’ve always stored their butter the same way, adding that it’s within United States Department of Agriculture guidelines. He said the business is doing everything it can to comply with health department regulations. Candlewood Market passed its follow-up inspection with a score of 95.

The Tasty Yolk failed an inspection on Aug. 25 with a score of 67. It had four violations for a blocked hand-washing station, mislabeled chemicals and “improper use of time instead of temperature.” The report also noted that there were fewer violations for issues such as improper storage of wipes, lack of training records and unclean exteriors of trash cans that contain food.

Michael Bertanza, one of the owners of The Tasty Yolk, noted that the business passed the follow-up inspection on Sept. 8 with a score of 97.

Two nursing homes received poor ratings in August. The first of these was Carolton Chronic Convalescent, which scored a 74 on an Aug. 9 inspection. There were two four-point defects, one for dented boxes and the other for cold rooms that did not maintain the correct temperature.

Other minor violations included unclear kitchen floors, rusted shelves and lack of documentation of training records. Carolton failed the follow-up inspection on Aug. 24 with a score of 71 with one demerit point out of four for similar issues, such as the temperature of food in hot or cold storage. It passed inspection on September 8 with 92 points.

Dennis Kretzmer, The Carolton’s administrator, said all problems in the reports have been resolved.

Southport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which failed an inspection in July, also failed an inspection with a score of 79 on August 15. The main cause was a clogged hand sink and employees not washing their hands properly or at the right time, but there were also issues with dirty floors and food equipment.

Southport later failed an inspection on August 31 with a score of 74. It had four demerit points for problems including improper hot and cold storage and dented boxes. Minor flaws included raw eggs over ready-to-eat food and cockroaches seen in the wash area earlier in the month.

On September 8, Southport failed another inspection with 86 for problems related to improper cooling of food and too strong a disinfectant. It passed an inspection on Sept. 23 with a score of 92. Management did not respond to requests for comment.

Whale Tea failed inspection on August 23 with a score of 79. There were major demerits for a blocked sink and storing medicines with foodstuffs. In addition, points were deducted for issues such as unlabeled food items and an uncleaned ice machine. Management at The Whale Tea did not respond to a request for comment. Passed a follow-up inspection on September 7 with a score of 96.

Milkcraft, the ice cream shop, failed an inspection on Aug. 29 with a score of 78. It had one four-point demerit for plumbing problems and smaller demerits for issues such as uncleaned walls and ceilings and unlabeled bins and containers. The business passed follow-up inspections on Sept. 12 with a score of 92. Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Robeks Fresh Juices & Smoothies failed an inspection on Aug. 26 with a score of 78. It was flagged for improper cold storage of food, having an uncleaned ice machine, improperly defrosting products and using cups as spoons.

Robeks management did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It passed inspection on September 9 with 86 points.

Spice Club failed an inspection on August 19 with a score of 70. It received a four-point demerit for storing chemicals next to food products, but also received points for issues including storing food on the floor of a walkway. in cooler, uncleaned microwave and dishwasher area and using bowls as spoons.

The restaurant later passed an inspection on September 7 with a score of 92. Spice Club management declined to comment.

Brooklawn had two dining areas that were not inspected in August — the kitchen and the snack bar. The kitchen, which also failed earlier in August and once in June, failed on August 18 with a score of 88. The four-point demerit was for the presence of unapproved vacuum-sealed food, but there were also points for uncleaned walls and fans.

Brooklawn’s kitchen passed a later inspection on Sept. 7 with a score of 94. The snack bar failed on Aug. 18 with a score of 81 for an improper air gap in the well. But he later passed a test on September 7 with a score of 96.

Bill Shaw, the country club’s general manager, said the problems found in the inspections have been fixed. He said he thinks the health department’s work is making all the restaurants and businesses in town better, adding he’s happy to work with officials there.

Yalla Organic, which failed an inspection in late July, failed an inspection on August 16 with a score of 79. The main problems in the inspection came from too strong a disinfectant and improper reheating of the chicken. Points were also deducted for problems including an uncleaned fan in a refrigerator and no employee training records.

Yalla also failed an inspection on September 13 with a score of 79. The main faults came from the cold storage not maintaining temperature, but it also had points deducted for issues such as food being stored on the floor and the ceiling not being tiled.

On September 27, Yalla failed another inspection with a score of 86. His main failure was the result of entering a cooler that kept the temperature low enough. It also received points for issues such as food being stored on the floor of the aisle and no ceiling.

Ronen Yur, the head chef and founder of Yalla, said the business had worked to fix the problems found by the inspector, including the fridge not maintaining temperature. He said that the temperature control module did not work on this equipment, but it was replaced. He said he worked with the health department to make sure his business was in compliance.

“I never take any chances, especially when it comes to my product and my reputation,” he said. “I try to stay on top of everything, but we had older equipment that we inherited here. We haven’t had any complaints in five years here. We’re very, very thorough.”

On Sept. 21, Panera Bread failed a health inspection with a score of 94 because it had a cooler that did not maintain temperature. There are also removed fly points in a food preparation area and improperly cleaned walls and ceilings. Panera passed its follow-up inspection two days later with a score of 100. A Panera manager declined to comment.

The remaining three businesses that went bankrupt in September are still awaiting re-inspections.

Bagel King failed the Sept. 26 inspection with a score of 86. Its only four-point demerit came from the lack of a hand sink in the rear cooking area. Points were also deducted for issues such as raw food over cooked food, improper hand washing techniques and uncleaned floors and walls. Bagel King management could not be reached for comment.

Duchess failed on September 13 with a score of 84. Among the main violations were hot food that was not kept at a high enough temperature and a hand sink that did not work. In terms of minor infractions, he was given points for problems such as rusty shelves, unclear coolers and using milk crates as storage. Duchess’ manager declined to comment.

Finally, Billy’s Bakery failed an inspection on Sept. 19 with a score of 74. There were several major violations, including improperly refrigerated foods, moldy cheese, dented cans and cockroaches found in the business. Minor deficiencies in the report included uncleaned shelves and surfaces, uncovered food and leaking sinks.

Rob Guerrera, assistant director of environmental health for the Fairfield Health Department, said Billy’s closed voluntarily to work on the problems and was cleared to reopen after a site inspection a few days later. A manager at Billy’s declined to comment.

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