Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Heat wave means roaches, rodents - and closure - for some Philly restaurants

As temperatures soared, a number of Philadelphia restaurants this month fought and lost battles with roaches, rodents and inadequate refrigeration.

As temperatures soared, a number of Philadelphia restaurants this month fought and lost battles with roaches, rodents and inadequate refrigeration.

Roaches in particular thrive in the summer swelter, and there's been plenty of that in recent weeks. Add a little water and a smattering of food debris and it's a perfect recipe for an insect infestation.

Restaurants are required to keep the bugs at bay. When the eatery fails, the health department can shut it down for a minimum of 48 hours.

An inspector on Aug. 11 examined a hot dog cart on the 200 block of South 15th Street and found roaches falling into uncovered food. On Aug. 15, the cascade had ended but the roaches still remained. At a Mexican mainstay on Washington Ave, Plaza Garibaldi,  roaches climbed walls, lurked behind pipes and skittered over foil containers, according to a health department report. Both were ordered to cease operations for 48 hours.

Roaches, which can spread disease causing pathogens, are cold-blooded, said Paul Curtis, manager of technical services for Terminix International. As the temperature rises, so does their metabolism and their ability to reproduce more quickly.

But roach populations in a restaurant can explode thanks to another weather phenomenon, Curtis said. Millions, perhaps billions, of roaches live in the Philly sewer system.

A sudden summer storm can drive roaches up through a restaurant's drain system. "Where there wasn't a problem before, now you get thousands of roaches showing up all of a sudden," Curtis said. "When they get there they usually decide they like the restaurant environment a lot better."

At the Cosi at Fourth and Chestnut Streets, an inspector on Aug. 12 found dead roaches. But that was the least of that restaurant's problems. Mouse droppings were scattered throughout the kitchen and the dining area. The sanitarian also noted "gnawed product" at a front counter, according to the report. After being shuttered for 48 hours, Cosi reopened Aug. 14.

An infestation of mice at Primo Hoagies on the 2700 block of E. Clearfield Street in Port Richmond caused the hoagie shop to be shut down for the second time this month. Woodland Village, a diner in Southwest Philadelphia, was also ordered to cease operations twice. At Woodland, an inspector found mouse droppings, live roaches, hair (the type wasn't specified) in an ice machine and a dead fly in the pizza sauce, according to inspector reports.

Given the ongoing heat wave, it's not surprising that many eateries also struggled with keeping foods safe from illness-causing bacteria. Every time a refrigerator door is opened, cool air pours out and the heat rushes in. Smart business owners know to keep the coolers closed, especially when a health inspector arrives. But since inspectors usually drop in just before the peak of the lunch rush that's often impossible. Still, holding foods at temperatures outside of the safety zone - below 41 degrees or above 140 - is not enough cause for a health inspector to shutter an eatery.

The restaurants, lunch carts, and other eateries listed below were asked to discontinue serving food following inspections conducted between Aug. 3 and Aug. 15.

Each inspection is generally regarded as a "snapshot in time" and is not necessarily a reflection of day-to-day conditions at the business. Most violations were corrected immediately on-site.

Unless noted, the businesses were permitted to re-open the next day.

Included with each listing is an edited selection of infractions noted by health department sanitarians. To look up a restaurant or read more in the Inquirer's Clean Plates series visit, where you can click on the restaurants name to see a detailed report.

Plaza Garibaldi
5 violations, 2 serious.
Roaches on foil containers in kitchen, on walls of bar and basement, behind pipe lines and electrical lines in warewash area; defective garbage grinder; food held at hazardous temperatures. Inspected Aug. 12.

325 CHESTNUT ST 19106
17 violations, 4 serious.
Mouse droppings on dough prep table, dry storage shelves, on top of ice machine, in customer eating area, and kitchen and prep area; gnawed product in front counter; dead roaches; flies in back chemical storage room.  Ordered to cease operations Aug. 12. Reopened Aug. 14.

Lucky Garden
6201 ELMWOOD AVE 19142
13 violations, 3 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises; employees using gloves without prior handwash; accumulated food residue on can opener; food held at hazardous temperatures; dead mouse in basement; cockroaches in kitchen; inadequate cooling units. Inspected Aug. 11.

1100 JACKSON ST 19148
34 violations, 8 serious.
Fruit flies, house flies and ants in kitchen; old mouse droppings on floor; no health awareness reporting procedure; employee did not wash hands between changing tasks; empty paper towel dispensers; black residue and pink slime in ice machine; missing thermometers; unapproved freezers and refrigerators; dirty pots stored on sanitizing drain board; heavy grease and food debris on kitchen equipment and refrigerators; inadequate hot water; basement drain overflowing and backed up; holes in kitchen floor; general cleaning needed; cigarette butts in food prep and storage; no smoking sign not posted. Ordered to cease operations for 48 hours on Aug. 11.

Mateen, Imran Hot Dog Cart #000294
212 S 15TH ST 19102
11 violations, 6 serious.
Person in charge did not know Pa. Food Code; open employee beverage container in kitchen; inadequate hot water; roaches falling into uncovered food; raw chicken held at hazardous temperatures; no thermometer in cold holding unit; entire interior in need of a cleaning; waste water leaking. Ordered to cease operations for 48 hours on Aug. 11 and again on Aug. 15.

Woodland Village
6234 WOODLAND AVE 19142
4 violations, 2 serious.
Dead fly in tomato sauce; mouse droppings on dough roller; live roaches; standing water under grease trap. Ordered to cease operations for 48 hours on Aug. 11.

J & B Mini Market
4753 N 13TH ST 19141
14 violations, 5 serious.
Insufficient hot water; dishes stored in hand sink; accumulated food residue on slicer; no probe thermometer; mouse droppings on basement floor and shelves; cat in basement. Inspected Aug. 11.

Uceta Mini Market
2513 W SOMERSET ST 19122
20 violations, 7 serious.
Employee did not use soap to wash hands; food sitting in pooled water at bottom of display case; accumulation of food residue on slicer; no faucet at 3-basin sink; insufficient thermometers; price stickers covering expiration dates on baby food; flies throughout food prep area; dirt and debris along floor perimeters. Inspected Aug. 11.

1001 Arabian Nights
23 violations, 8 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises; improper handwashing; soap not available at sinks; empty paper towel dispensers; filthy three compartment sink; no sanitizer or test strips; foods held at hazardous temperatures; inadequate refrigeration; thermometers not available; heavy grease accumulation throughout prep and cook station; restroom dirty and needs to be cleaned; filthy refrigeration units. Inspected Aug. 11.

Peter's Chicken & Seafood
7361 N 19TH ST 19126
7 violations, 1 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises; thermometers not available. Inspected Aug. 11.

Holiday Thriftway #0010
5147 FRANKFORD AVE 19124
21 violations, 6 serious.
Insufficient hot water; no towels in men's restroom; no soap at handwash sink in produce area; severe leak in meat walk-in, water dripping onto boxes and packages of food; milk and cut watermelon held at hazardous temperatures; dead roaches in rear storage area; electric fly traps on deli counter; severe frost and ice acculation in walk-in freezer; no lidded trashcan in women's restroom. Inspected Aug. 11.

Wendy's #325
1101 WALNUT ST 19107
1 violation, 1 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises. Inspected Aug. 10.

Germantown Grocery Store
11 violations, 3 serious.
Food safety certified person not on premises; no soap at handwash sinks; food debris in food prep sink; mouse droppings in food prep area; unapproved refigerators, freezer and microwave; heavy grease and food debris on all cooking equipment; food debris on walls and floors throughout. Previously ordered to cease operations Mar. 2, 2014 and Oct. 14, 2015. Court hearing scheduled for Aug. 18. Inspected Aug. 10.

Eddie Store (Market)
6744 BUSTLETON AVE 19149
8 violations, 1 serious.
Unlabeled food stored in freezers; loosely packed dried shrimp and squid were uncovered and unlabeled; flies in food prep area and storage areas; frost buildup in freezers. Ordered to cease operations by Court of Common Pleas for 48 hours on Aug. 10 and again on Aug. 12.

Father Erkie & JeanneB
6505 LANSDOWNE AVE 19151
10 violations, 1 serious.
Food not protected from contamination; fresh mice feces on prep area shelves, under equipment and along floors; general cleaning needed. Previously ordered to cease operations Dec. 1, 2010; July 10, 2012; July 13, 2012; Nov. 19, 2012. Ordered to cease operations Aug. 10, ordered to cease again by Court of Common Pleas on Aug 12. Permitted to reopen Aug. 14.

The Pearl Theatre at Avenue North
1600 N BROAD ST 19121
3 violations, 2 serious.
No hot water. Ordered to stop serving food on Aug. 9.

Woodland Village
6234 WOODLAND AVE 19142
8 violations, 4 serious.
Empty paper towel dispenser at food prep sink; insufficient hot water; black residue and hair inside ice machine; roach nymphs near pizza oven, mouse droppings on mixer and storage racks, drain flies; rodent harborage areas not sealed. Ordered to cease operations Aug. 9.

Ahmad, Ejaz/ New York Halal Gyro/V08099
3710 N BROAD ST 19140
1 violation, 1 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises. Inspected Aug. 5.

Primo Hoagies
2703 E CLEARFIELD ST 19134
5 violations.
Mouse infestation, droppings in front and prep area; flies; dust and food debris in prep area. Previously ordered to cease operations Aug. 12, 2014 and Aug. 3, 2016. Ordered to cease again for 48 hours on Aug. 5.

Eddies Market
6744 BUSTLETON AVE 19149
27 violations, 10 serious.
No hot water; inadequate handwashing; paper towels not available at sinks; uncovered food in walk-in freezer; flies on food-contact surfaces; no thermometers; accumulated rodent feces on shelves throughout the facility; employees not wearing hair restraints; extensive cleaning needed; open dumpsters attracting flies. Ordered to cease operations Aug. 5.

Nguyen,Huong/Rosie Food Truck/ V08225
7 violations, 4 serious.
No cold water; foods held at hazardous temperatures; accumulated dirt in handwash sink. Inspected Aug. 4.

Gutierrez & Espinal Food Market
1772 S 65TH ST 19142
14 violations, 7 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises; no soap at employee handwash sink; facility not washing and sanitizing properly; food held at hazardous temperatures; thermometers missing; refrigerators need to be cleaned. Previously ordered to close May 20 2014, Inspected Aug. 4.

Baez Food Market
2246 S 70TH ST 19142
12 violations, 4 serious.
No food safety certified person on premises; no running water; fruit flies and cockroaches in store; sewage in basement; general cleaning needed throughout. Ordered to cease operations for 48 hours on Aug. 4.