Mystery pretzels, moldy tomatoes and bloody floors recently closed Philadelphia eateries

Pretzels are part of the cultural fabric of Philadelphia. They are an essential at every office party, Sunday afternoon football spread, and the preferred anytime snack for kids and adults.

In this round of Clean Plates’ reports on inspections of city eateries, one establishment crossed a line and served up pretzels from an unknown source. City inspectors sent a clear message that Philadelphians deserve to know the source of their salty, chewy delights.

More typical types of problems, such as moldy tomatoes and onions, large crawling cockroaches, bloody floors, expired baby food and mouse droppings were among the reasons why Philadelphia food inspectors closed 30 facilities between May 1 and May 15.

Inspectors visit nearly 1,000 eateries and food retailers every two weeks. Each inspection is generally regarded as a snapshot in time, and not necessarily a reflection of day-to-day conditions. Most violations were corrected immediately in the presence of an inspector.

To look up reports on a specific Philadelphia restaurant, or a Montgomery, Bucks, or Gloucester County eatery, visit philly.com/cleanplates.

A list of eateries that were closed follows:

 

Adrian Grocery
3862 Sydenham St.
12 violations; 3 serious
Old mouse droppings and dirt were found on shelving in the basement and retail areas; uncovered frozen burgers and steaks were in the reach-in freezer; there were gaps in and around facility front and basement trap doors, these outer openings in the food facility does not protect against the entry of insects, rodents, and other animals; moist wiping cloths were found lying on a cutting board and not stored in sanitizing solution; rusty shelving found throughout the retail area; there was no utility sink; grease had accumulated on the floor under cooking equipment; a new stainless steel ventilation hood system was installed prior to receiving a plan review application.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 15.

Snyder Retail
1849 S. 12th St.
7 violations, none serious
There was no hot water at the handwashing sink in the toilet room; no gas service available; there was no backflow prevention device on the main water line in basement; the facility did not have a mop sink; the toilet and sink were not clean; debris and dust were found on the floor surfaces of toilet room; the toilet room door was not self-closing; debris, mouse feces, and dust were on the floor surfaces of the basement; trash, old and unused items found in the basement.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 15.

McDonald’s
1575 N. 52nd St.
1 violation, 1 serious
A person in charge was not present.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 15.

Clean Plates, Philadelphia
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Location of Checker’s Restaurant, 4322 Market St.

Checker’s Restaurant
4322 Market St.
13 violations, 5 serious
Mouse feces were found in boxes and on shelf in the food storage area; throughout the rear storage rooms; on the shelf under the cash register; behind the ice machine and on the desk and shelves of office area; a food safety certified person was not present; the flat grill was leaking grease to the floor; surfaces of refrigerators and freezers were in need of cleaning; a general cleaning was needed throughout the facility including the walls, floor, and ceiling by the three-basin sink, the area around the deep fryers was in need of specific cleaning; the menu board is labeled with the calories of food items, however did not have the statement posted “Additional Nutritional Data Available Upon Request.”
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 14.

The O
6311 Lansdowne Ave.
11 violations, 3 serious
Hot water was not available; potentially hazardous ready-to-eat food, prepared in the food facility and held for more than 48 hours, located in the refrigerator, were not date marked; numerous containers of food in the refrigerator were not properly marked; sanitizer was not available; there was ice buildup in the reach-in freezer in the front area; a general cleaning was needed by the side of the refrigerator in the front area; there were water-stained ceiling tiles observed in the front area.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected March 14.

8 Brothers Food Market & Deli
1127 N 40th St.
1 violation, 1 serious
There was no safety person present.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 14.

Clean Plates, Philadelphia
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Location of Jamaican D’s, 1265 E Chelten Ave.

Jamaican D’s
1265 E Chelten Ave.
Mouse droppings observed along the floor perimeters and under shelving in the basement food prep area; fish was found thawing in stagnant water; chicken was found cooking outside on a barrel grill; cooked macaroni noodles were on a shelf, under a table, in the food prep area; the microwave cavities had food debris on the surfaces; cooked chicken, fish, and yams were held at improper temperatures; utensils in the outside grill area observed in stagnant water; the black hose connected to the faucet under the first floor warewashing sink was not a food grade hose; the walk-in cooler had excess grease and food debris on the floors, walls, and shelving; there was ice accumulation on the floors in the walk-in freezer; stagnant water observed on the floors in the warewashing/food prep area; the basement trap door was open without a protective screen and did not protect against the entry of insects, rodents, and other animals; there were damaged/unfinished steps and floors in the food prep area.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 10.

Lam, Sida/Rafa’s Cucina/ V-03025
3605 Spruce St.
8 violations, 4 serious
Hot water was not readily available at the hand wash sink for employees to wash hands frequently and effectively; employees donned single use gloves without a prior hand wash; beans were not properly reheated; the exhaust hood filters and fan had an accumulation of grease and were in need of cleaning; hot foods were being cooked but the ventilation system was not turned on; a general cleaning was needed.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 10.

IkramRashid / NY Famous Gyro Inc / V03195
2955 Market St.
1 violation, none serious
There was no water present on the truck.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 10.

Bitri, Edmond/ Ed and Veronika’s Lunch Truck/ #V03056
3000 Market St.
7 violations, 5 serious
Brownies were being prepared in the home; eggs were not held at proper temperatures; employees donned single use gloves without a prior hand wash; the food facility person in charge was not able to provide documentation that pretzels foods are from an approved source; a general cleaning of the floor and facility was needed.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 10.

Dawes, Dane/D’s Caribbean and American Food/V07060
4640 Roosevelt Blvd.
8 violations, 5 serious
Water was not available at the hand wash sink during the time of inspection; a person-in-charge was not present; uncovered food was on the steam table during the time of inspection; chicken was held at improper temperatures; residue and grease were found on some equipment surfaces; frost accumulation found in the freezer; accumulated residue was observed on some surfaces and along junctures/perimeters inside the storage cabinet and other locations.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 9.

West Africa International Grocery
7288 Woodland Ave.
12 violations, 4 serious
Raw chicken was stored above raw beef, pork, fish; prepackaged rice was not labeled properly with the name of product, ingredient statement, net weight, distributed by statement and/or nutritional facts; the ware washing three-basin sink was leaking and unable to drain the water without it spilling onto the floor. Stoppers were not available in the ware wash sink; an unapproved microwave was in the food preparation area; the paper towel dispenser was in disrepair at the hand wash sink; the bandsaw was not operating, however food debris was observed on the non food contact surfaces of the bandsaw. Blood and other food were found on the walk-in cooler floors.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 9.

Philly Halal Gyros Commissary Unit #6
1332 N. 9th St. UNIT #6
25 violations, 9 serious
A bird was seen flying inside the commissary while employees were cutting onions; employees did not follow proper handwashing procedure; there was no hot to warm water in use at the hand sink station in the food prep area; the hand sink in the employee restroom was in need of cleaning; uncovered/unprotected containers of diced onions, diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers and chopped lettuce are with beef in the freezer chest; unlabeled bottles of cleaning agents are stored on shelf with food and food items in storage shelf area, used for storing chemicals taken from bulk supplies, were not marked with the common name of the chemical; ice scoop is stored directly on top of the ice machine; a soiled mixing whisk, soiled spatula and soiled knife were on the wire shelf with clean equipment; there were no thermometers in the freezer chest; bottles of a mayonnaise-based white sauce was held at an improper temperature; there was excessive water present on the floor of the commissary; there was no backflow devise for the income potable water line near the hot water tank and other locations, where it is needed.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 9.

Clean Plates, Philadelphia
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Location of Jenaliz Food Market, 2024 S 68th St.

Jenaliz Food Market
2024 S 68th St.
20 violations, 10 serious
Expired baby food found in the retail area; moldy tomatoes were inside the deli case; deli meats, cheese, orange juice, and other food items that require refrigeration were observed in refrigeration units that were inactive for more than 48 hours; there was an open can of soda in the food preparation area; the person in charge did not demonstrate adequate knowledge of the PA Food Code, and was unable to properly wash, rinse, sanitize; there was grease and food debris on crates and under equipment; the hot water handle of the hand sink was loose; cleaning need behind equipment and shelves; deli meats and cheeses were without date marking when they were opened; chemicals were stored above or on the same shelf with food, including pet food,equipment, and/or single service articles in the retail area; a flat grill was found in the food preparation area with no exhaust hood observed in the facility. The flat grill can not be used without an exhaust hood, which requires a plan review submission before installing.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 8.

Yuan, Xiao Wen/ Hong Kong Chinese Food Cart/ #003189
3401 Spruce St.
5 violations, 1 serious
A general cleaning was needed; there was grease accumulation in the hood; the food facility person in charge was not able to provide documentation that foods are from an approved source. No approved commissary; the food equipment was stored outside the cart.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 8.

Al’s Katnip Cafe
412 S 54th St.
1 violation, 1 serious
A food safety certified person was not present.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 7.

Lee Wah Restaurant
5140 Market St.
31 violations, 10 serious
There was a single mouse dropping found in a container of shrimp stored inside of the walk-in cooler; mice feces were also found on food preparation table shelves where rice cookers were stored, where empty cans of sauce are stored, on food preparation table shelf across from the warewashing sink, and on several shelves in the storage area; the food safety person not present; an employee was washing their hands at the warewashing sink rather than the designated handwash sink; several foods were not covered in the walk-in cooler, deep freezers, and refrigeration unit; storage area; a bottle of prescription medicine was found on shelf above the food preparation table; there were damaged ceiling tiles in the waiting area, storage area, and food preparation area; missing ceiling tiles were found in the storage area; walls in the storage area were in need of repair; dust was found in vent inside the toilet room, walk-in cooler, and True refrigeration units; hood filters have an accumulation of static dust and grease.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 4.

Merrigan,William/Merrigan Enterprises, LLC/John’s Lunch Cart/003185
3300 South St.
6 violations, 2 serious
The breakfast sausage inside the cold hold with broken door was not held at the proper temperature; there were broken doors on cold/hot hold units; water was leaking onto sidewalk from sink compartment; there was a heavy accumulation of grease on the exhaust fans and grill; spills were found in the cold hold unit; water was observed leaking under the truck from the sink compartment area; a general cleaning was needed throughout the cart.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 4.

Clean Plates, Philadelphia
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Location of Rex Pizza, 1526 Race St.

Rex Pizza
1526 Race St.
24 violations, 12 serious
Pizza was not held at the proper temperature; food, including cheese, deli meats, lettuce not held at the proper temperature; an employee was seen touching ready to-eat-food with their bare hands; there were no paper towels available at the handsink; dented, swollen, and distressed canned items were found in the basement storage area; uncovered foods were found in the walk-in cooler in the kitchen; the person in charge was not knowledgeable about warewashing procedures.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 14.

Pamela Food Market Inc
2900 N Bonsall St.
11 violations, 3 serious
A food safety certified person was not present; opened commercially processed ready-to-eat food including deli meats and cheese, located in the display case, were not marked with the date they were opened; an outer opening at the facility did not protect against the entry of insects, rodents, and other animals; the front door was propped open; chicken serving tongs were being stored in stagnant water; the toilet room door observed not self-closing.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 4.

Top of the Hill Cafe
184 E Evergreen Ave.
5 violations, 2 serious
The slicer had accumulation of food residue on the food contact surfaces and was not being washed, rinsed and sanitized at least every four hours; old mouse droppings and dust were found along the floor perimeters in the basement; the garbage disposal was incorrectly installed on the food prep sink.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment was issued a Cease Operations Order and could not operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 3.

MVP Sandwich Inc.
3201 N Randolph St.
25 violations, 8 serious
Mouse droppings were found along the floor perimeters of the front and rear food prep areas, behind refrigeration units and shelving; cut pineapples, watermelons, cut oranges, chicken, pork, sliced turkey bacon, sliced tomatoes, cut lettuce and several other perishable food items were held at incorrect temperatures in various refrigeration units; opened commercially processed ready-to-eat food including sliced turkey bacon, sliced pastrami and deli meats located in the refrigeration units, were not marked with dates they were opened; the garbage grinder under handwash sink in the food prep area was not working; there was a leaky drain line from the food prep area to the garbage grinder handwash sink; the cutting boards had deep scratches and scoring that did not allow for effective cleaning and sanitizing; there was no splash guard between handwash sink and three-compartment sink.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 5.

Clean Plates, Philadelphia
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Location of Ting Wong Restaurant
138 N 10th St.

Ting Wong Restaurant
138 N 10th St.
32 violations, 9 serious
Mouse droppings were found in the basement on a jar of food and on the top of a pot boiling on the stove; there was a cigarette butt in the main kitchen under the wok station; cloths were used to cover noodles and clams; food-related items were stored under sewage line in the basement; there were holes on the grease trap cover in the basement food preparation area; there was a leaking faucet on the customer restroom sink; cooked and ready-to-eat foods in the walk-in cooler, front prep unit and prep refrigeration units were not date marked; multiple food items were kept at room temperature; raw fish, chicken and meat were stored above vegetables in the front wok prep unit, prep refrigerator and basement walk-in cooler; chicken, fish, meat, cooked and uncooked vegetables were uncovered in the basement walk-in cooler, refrigerator in the kitchen and the under-the-counter refrigerator. Some of the items were covered; the person in charge didn’t know ware-washing procedures.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 3.

Mohammad Hosainfokir/Nora’s Grill/#003106
200 S 38th St.
There was no food safety person at facility; there was no water available at hand wash sink the handwash sink in the food prep area was blocked by a plastic bag and not accessible at all times for employee use; employees did not follow proper handwash procedures; employee did not wash hands between changing tasks; the handwash sink in the food prep area does not have single use towels, continuous towels, or air drying device; food, including tomatoes, were not held at proper temperatures; a general floor cleaning was needed throughout unit; single use containers observed not properly inverted at time of inspection.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 2.

Dragon Breath
1455 Franklin Mills Cir.
4 violations, 2 serious
A food safety certified person was not present; an employee did not follow proper handwashing procedure; there was no handsink; pipes and utility lines are not properly sealed; alteration or construction began prior to plan submission and approval.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. Inspected May 2.

Phillies Food Market
4353 N 5th St.
2 violaitons, 1 serious
There was no hot water available.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. May 2.

Clean Plates, Philadelphia
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Location of Happy Day Food Market and Deli, 1337 S 58th St.

Happy Day Food Market and Deli
1337 S 58th St.
21 violations, 11 serious
Expired baby food observed in the retail area; moldy onions were in the retail area by the produce and coffee; there were no date marks on deli meats and cheeses; the ceiling above food preparation area was open; raw poultry was found on the same shelf and above ready-to-eat foods; there was no hot water at the ware wash sink; the band saw had an accumulation of food residue on the food contact surfaces and was not being washed, rinsed and sanitized at least every four hours; food debris and spills were inside the microwave; food employees were donning single use gloves without a prior hand wash; the person in charge was unable to demonstrate proper sanitizing methods.
Due to conditions observed during the inspection, the establishment has agreed to discontinue food operations and voluntarily close until it is approved by the Department to resume operations. March 2.

Las Primas
5562 Chancellor St.
11 violations, 2 serious
Fresh and old mice feces were found under the coffee machine, under slicer in food prep area, on the floor under warewashing sinks and basement floors and stairs, and on the shelves in retail area; there were uncovered burgers in the chest freezer; there was a fast leak in the pipe under warewashing sinks; there were multiple garbage bags in the yard; cutting boards had deep scratches and scoring that did not allow for effective cleaning and sanitizing.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 1.

Gino’s Italian Bakery
7142 Frankford Ave.
16 violations, 4 serious
Large cockroaches were crawling around the basin behind ovens; fruit flies were in the three-bay sink, in and around basin drains and the mop sink; dark colored mouse feces found on the floor under the flour storage, perimeter throughout production rooms, heater room, and in trashcan near rear door; the hot water in the handsink and three-bay sink was not at required temperature; dough/rolls in walk-in cooler were uncovered and not protected from contamination; bakery pans are not properly cleaned as required; the wood bakery boards were not properly cleaned at least once a day;
the person in charge did not assure that a certified food handler was present; hanging wires found in the production room ceiling.
Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. Inspected May 1.