Posted by on October 3, 2019 2:19 am

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Categories: Local Business News

State health inspectors recently gave a popular Schuylkill County restaurant a failing grade.

This represents the second time since 2017 that Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza in Saint Clair got such marks.

Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza Fails Health Inspection

Inspectors from the state Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services found 17 violations at Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza in Saint Clair. None of these are particularly alarming violations.

Sure, some are gross when they’re written down. But others will make you wonder why restaurants are required to do such things.

Particularly alarming about the failed health inspection at Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza is that:

  • It’s a popular restaurant routinely packed with customers.
  • And it’s not the first time.

Repeated Violations

Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza previously failed a health inspection back in 2017. It passed the same annual inspection last year but then failed the one conducted on Sept. 25.

Also, somewhat concerning is that Vito’s couldn’t see this coming and take care of the seemingly obvious violations, at least for the times when they expected an inspection. Or maybe this is what resulted from them worrying that inspectors were coming and it’s worse other times of the year.

Based on the records available from the Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services, it was hard for Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza staff and management not to see this inspection coming. Inspectors appear to show up at the same time every year at Vito’s.

In 2017, when inspectors found 21 violations and gave Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza, it happened on Sept. 28, 2017.

The next year, the restaurant passed the inspection held Aug. 31, 2018.

And then in the most recent one, the 17 violations were found on Sept. 25.

So, did Vito’s staff know the inspection was coming but still failed to keep a clean restaurant regardless. That would mean the restaurant is typically dirtier when they don’t expect inspectors.

Or did they not see the pattern forming over the last few years and the violations found last week represent normal conditions there.

Again, they’re not terrible violations.

Failed Inspection Report at Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza – Sept. 25, 2019

Among the 17 violations that led to the failed report, here are the ones Vito’s fixed on the spot:

  • Moldy cucumbers: Observed 3 cucumbers to have presence of a white mold-like substance located inside walk-in cooler.
  • Touching bread with bare hands: An employee got busted touching ready-to-eat bread without wearing protective gloves.
  • Torch fuel above food: Per the report, inspectors “observed containers of torch fuel being stored directly above food containers located on side wall dry storage area (adjacent to rear food preparation area).”
  • Tomato sauce on the ground: Inspectors found “a large pot of tomato sauce (cooling) stored directly on ground in rear food preparation area.”

Again, these issues were corrected on the spot and marked as such in the report. Still, other violations with those condemned the restaurant in this report.

Violations That Couldn’t Be Corrected Right Away

Here’s a look at the other violations in the report. These violations likely will require a follow-up visit to see if they’ve been corrected.

  • PA Food Code knowledge: Inspectors report, “The Person in Charge did not demonstrate adequate knowledge of the PA Food Code as evident by the violations observed in this inspection report.”
  • Raw food over cooked: Inspectors say, “Observed raw animal foods stored directly above ready to eat foods located inside walk-in cooler, large single door grill line cooler, and larger Bain-Marie cooling unit.”
  • Food splatter near prep and wash areas: “Walls located in the following areas were observed to have presence of soil accumulations and/or old food splatter: Wall directly next to rear food preparation area grill line, bottoms of walls (approximately 2-3 ft off ground) throughout ware wash area.”
  • Old flour, spills on floors: Here’s what the inspectors found last month, “Observed old flour accumulations located on flooring around dough mix area … Floors (left side) of bar area walk-in cooler were observed to have presence of excessive drink spill … Floors located below grill line (rear kitchen) were observed to have presence of old food debris and grease.”
  • Problems with the grill hood: Included in the report, “Observed denting and areas of disintegration located on both grill area hood filters.”
  • Residue on the drink nozzles: The report details this violation, “Observed old drink residue located inside soda dispense nozzles of side (nearest to extended dining area) dining area.”
  • Missing paperwork: “The food facility does not maintain Food Employee Certification records as required.”
  • Kitchen ceiling tiles missing: The food prep area is a mess when inspectors showed up. They “observed numerous missing ceiling tiles and dirty ventilation grates throughout main food preparation areas of kitchen.”
  • Flies on ice: Inspectors note “excessive fly activity (in addition to fruit flies) located near ice machine and soda dispense manifold of rear alcove.”
  • No dates marked: Foods that are time and temperature sensitive were in a walk-in cooler for longer than a day and didn’t have dates marked on them.
  • Hood filters missing: “Rear kitchen area hood system is missing hood filters,” the report notes.
  • “Heavy soil” on hoods above dish washing area: “Hood system vent line located directly above dish wash unit was observed to have presence of heavy soil accumulations,” the report notes.
  • Missing test strips: Seems a bit picayune compared to other violations but the restaurant “does not have on hand chlorine test strips used for determining adequate sanitizer concentrations.”

Like we mentioned earlier, some of these violations aren’t going to turn your stomach. And then for others, you can almost hear Gordon Ramsey giving the staff at Vito’s the business over their dirty habits.

Vito’s has a chance to correct this failed report. It’s likely they’ll get a follow-up visit from regulators in about a month. In 2017, Vito’s passed its follow-up inspection.

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