Six area restaurants fail inspections in November, December

Pam G. Dempsey – Six local restaurants recently failed health inspections, and one of them is now at risk for losing its food service permit if it fails again.

Cravings, at 603 Wright St. in Champaign, was closed in December after failing its seventh health inspection with an adjusted score of minus 3 and 10 critical violations.

Restaurants fail inspections if they get a score of 35 or lower out of 100 and are immediately closed if they score below zero or if they have a critical violation that poses a danger to the public.

On Dec. 5th, Public Health District Inspectors found several food items out of safe temperature ranges and produce placed directly on a preparation table that also was used for raw meat.

The restaurant was allowed to reopen on Dec. 9 after scoring a 91 on its reinspection.

Because the restaurant failed seven of its last nine inspections, it has to pass inspections for the next year, otherwise it will be closed and lose its permit to operate. If that happens, the owners will have to go through a hearing to get its permit reinstated.

Sze Tho, a part-time employee at Cravings, attributed the repeated failures to the large food deliveries the restaurant received. These deliveries were placed in a small walk-in cooler or inadvertenly left out. That meant the food then may not have been  properly cooled or stored.

“The restaurant is too small,” Tho said.

Tho said though the staff intended to follow health codes, such as marking the dates on food or properly thawing out frozen food, the restaurant often is busy and staff became diverted serving customers instead.

Now, to avoid overwhelming, large deliveries, Tho said he orders smaller quantities more frequently.

“We went from three times a week to five times a week,” he said.

Tho said they’ve also added more shelves to the cooler and are storing food in smaller containers to help keep it at safe temperatures.

The restaurant is also preparing food differently, by doing things like cutting down on the quantities staff cook, he said.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District inspected about 130 restaurants in November and December throughout Champaign County. filed Freedom of Information requests to get copies of inspection reports. For the past five years, public health officials have worked on a plan to make health inspection results more public. This month, they instituted a system in which colored placards indicating inspection results must be placed in a prominent location at restaurants in Champaign and Urbana. Restaurants in the county are not required to display placards. began posting the complete failed health inspection reports in 2011.

B. Won, at 2006 S. Neil St. in Champaign, also was closed after it was inspected on Nov. 13 with an adjusted score of 18 and six critical violations.

Inspectors cited the restaurant for fish in a bucket of water on the floor out of safe temperature ranges, a broken walk-in cooler with potentially hazardous food out of safe temperature ranges and an employee who did not wash his hands before putting on gloves.

The restaurant was closed because it failed its reinspection. It was allowed to reopen on Nov. 14 after scoring an 88 on its follow-up inspection.

Noted below are the score and number of critical violations of the restaurants and food establishments that failed health inspections in November and December 2013. Restaurants with adjusted scores 36 or above are considered passing. At four or five points, critical violations are scored higher because of the potential health impact they have on customers.

The score also depends on the amount of non-critical violations, which can range from one point to two.

The total amount of points are deducted from a score of 100, with additional points taken off for the number of critical violations as well as the number of repeat violations.


Ambar Indian Restaurant, 605 S. Wright St., Champaign:

Inspected on Dec. 5 with an adjusted score of 11 and nine critical violations including food such as spinach and cucumber sauce out of safe temperature ranges. Employees were also observed washing dishes without sanitizing before stacking on shelves. The restaurant is scheduled to be reinspected within 30 days.


Sakanaya Restaurant, 403 E. Green St., Champaign:

Inspected on Dec. 4 with an adjusted score of 22 and seven critical violations including the practice of freezing fresh fish to kill parasites without approval of a safety plan.  The fish also lacked labels and documentation of being properly frozen. Inspectors also noted a blocked hand sink for employees to wash their hands and no hot water to the men’s restroom. The restaurant is scheduled to be reinspected within 30 days.


Shanghai 1938 Chinese Restaurant, 2504 Village Green Place, Champaign:

Inspected on Nov. 5 with an adjusted score of 32 and two critical violations including egg drop soup that was out of safe temperature ranges. Inspectors also noted sewage backup from the floor drains into the kitchen and closed the facility. The restaurant was reopened on Nov. 6 after the problem was repaired and the restaurant was cleaned, according to health department officials. The restaurant was reinspected on Dec. 3 with an adjusted score of 65.


Sitara Indian Restaurant and Lounge, 114 S. Race St., Urbana:

Inspected on Nov. 2 with an adjusted score of 30 and six critical violations including making yogurt without a permit or license, chicken and beans out of safe temperature ranges and an employee talking on a cell phone while handling food in the kitchen.  The restaurant was reinspected on Dec. 2 with an adjusted score of 89.

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