Update: 9:22 p.m. Although no one at the restaurant is answering the phone, neighboring businesses tell me that Park Plaza Gardens is open for business this evening. A manager earlier in the day told me that a health inspector was expected in the afternoon to check on corrections to the violations. Apparently those repairs had been sufficient to warrant allowing the restaurant to reopen.
My thought? Park Plaza Gardens at this moment is probably one of the cleanest places in town to eat.
Park Plaza Gardens, the venerable Winter Park restaurant, hopes to reopen for dinner this evening after a health inspector ordered it closed earlier today. A manager at the restaurant did not have all the details, she said, because she had just arrived at the Park Avenue location and had not yet spoken to her chef. According to one source, the restaurant’s restrooms are undergoing renovations and in the meantime guests have been using the toilets off the lobby of the Park Plaza Hotel, which is attached. A manager at the hotel denied a rumor that a complaint from the hotel’s management to the health department brought an inspector to the restaurant.
Update (4:06): According to the restaurant’s inspection report, which is published at myfloridalicense.com, Park Plaza Gardens was issued seven “high priority” violations with warnings. They include (worded as published on the state’s site):
- High Priority – All potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) foods in reach-in cooler cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Cheese 47. 48. Poultry 47. In the unit under the expo window on the cook line **Warning**
- High Priority – Dead roaches on premises. Bottom shelf prep table cut out area, on the floor under the rolling rack, in the waitstaff area and on the wall above the prep table on the cook line **Warning**
- High Priority – Employee failed to wash hands before putting on gloves to work with food. Cooks (multiple times) **Warning**
- High Priority – Employee touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands – food was not being heated as a sole ingredient to 145 degrees F or immediately added to other ingredients to be cooked/heated to the minimum required temperature to allow bare hand contact. Establishment has no approved Alternative Operating Procedure. The bar tender was cutting lemons with his bare hands. **Warning**
- High Priority – Employee washed hands with cold water at the cut out prep room by the cook line as the hot water is off **Warning**
- High Priority – Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. 1 roach on the floor at the pass thru door between the kitchen and mixer room. 8 in an unsealed wall protector. 1 on the floor under the prep table in the cut out room from the cook line. 1 on the floor eating a French fry in the waitstaff expo area. **Warning**
- High Priority – Rodent activity present as evidenced by fresh rodent droppings found. 8 in a corner on a middle shelf in the wait staff expo area **Warning**
In addition, there were four violations listed as “intermediate” and three as “basic,” but all with warnings attached.
Closings are rare, even when a restaurant receives multiple high priority warnings. In most cases, corrections are made while the inspector is still at the restaurant — the violation still goes into the report, but the inspector can use discretion whether or not to close the restaurant temporarily or allow it to continue to operate without disrupting service.
At this hour, no one other than a kitchen worker is answering the phone.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.