ASHEVILLE — A local restaurant has announced a temporary closure following a low health inspection score.
On March 9, Tommy’s Family Restaurant at 247 N. Main St. in Weaverville notified customers via social media that the business would be closed for kitchen upgrades and renovations.
The social media post said:
“We are currently closed to upgrade our kitchen and do some minor renovations. We will be closed for the time being, but hope to be operational again on Tuesday March 14, 2023. Thank you for your patience. See you soon !”
The announcement follows Tommy’s Family restaurant which received a score of 72 out of 100 in a follow-up health inspection by Buncombe County Health and Human Services on March 7 – the lowest score it has received during recent inspections.
Jessica Silver, environmental health administrator for BCHHS, said in an email that Tommy’s Family Restaurant’s license to operate was suspended on March 7.
“The establishment was given 30 days to address the repeated food safety violations. After thirty days, the operator failed to address the food safety issues that resulted in the license suspension,” she said. .
The restaurant must resolve the issues identified in the inspection report for the license suspension to be lifted and will need to demonstrate active management control by correcting violations found in the inspection report, she said.
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On December 29, 2021, Tommy’s Family Restaurant received a health score of 90.
On June 22, 2022, the restaurant received a rating of 81.5.
On August 2, 2022, the restaurant received a 90.5 rating.
On December 8, 2022, the restaurant received a score of 88.
On February 2, the restaurant received a score of 78.5.
Several follow-up visits to Tommy’s Family Restaurant were made between each inspection, Silver said.
“The lowest score a restaurant can receive and remain open is 70. If a score is below 70, an immediate license revocation is issued and the restaurant must close,” Silver said.
However, a license may be immediately suspended regardless of the score, which may be determined by the violation and the frequency of the violation observed and the risk of foodborne illness associated with continued non-compliance with the NC Food Code, she said.
No recent complaints or illness reports had been received, confirmed or linked to the restaurant by the department at the time of publication.
The March 7 re-inspection report, in which the restaurant received a score of 72, notes that there were new, repeated and critical violations that required immediate action.
One of the lingering issues is that the responsible person is not a certified food protection officer, according to the inspector’s remarks.
“THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON must demonstrate to the REGULATORY AUTHORITY that he or she is knowledgeable in the prevention of foodborne illness, the application of HAZARD analysis principles and CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS, and the requirements of this Code. The PERSON RESPONSIBLE must demonstrate this knowledge by complying with this Code and having committed no violation of the PRIORITY ELEMENTS during the inspection in progress. The same violations were repeatedly addressed during the inspections, training was provided during the inspections, after the inspections, a food safety booklet was provided twice. Immediate clearance actions are being taken,” the report said.
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Violations listed in the March 7 report included food temperature issues, improperly reheated food, food left unrefrigerated for too long, food kept past its expiration date, mislabeling and cleaning products. and poorly stored insecticides.
Other violations included:
- An employee witnessed handling raw shell eggs, then touching equipment and working with ready-to-eat foods without removing gloves or washing hands before doing so.
- Containers of raw chicken were stored among seafood in a fridge, creating a risk of cross-contamination – a violation that has continued in the four previous inspections.
- Frozen raw meats were removed from their packaging and stored with packages of frozen vegetables in a chest freezer – an item for household use only.
- The slicer had a buildup of residue and debris in various areas of the machine.
- Food workers did not wear hair ties.
- Employee jackets were hung on racks of dry goods / clean equipment.
- Single-use plastic sauce containers were reused.
- The walk-in freezer door was damaged and the freezer was found to be causing excess frost.
- Various pieces of equipment were damaged and exhibited deterioration, buildup and/or rust.
- Floors and walls were damaged throughout the building and required repairs.
“Tommy’s Family Restaurant has worked with our environmental health staff and other food safety professionals to educate their staff and make the necessary improvements to have their license suspension lifted,” Silver said.
View the complete health inspection reports at buncombe-nc.healthinspections.us/reports.cfm.
Silver recommends that anyone suspecting foodborne illness consult their primary care physician as needed.
Complaints can be received by the BCHHS Communicable Disease Section at 828-250-5109 and/or by calling Environmental Health at 828-250-5016.
Tiana Kennell is a food and restaurant reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with aCitizen Times subscription.