NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - General Manager Clay Toller says he tries tirelessly to keep conditions up to code at Sioux City Steakhouse on Little Road in New Port Richey and welcomed ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan behind the kitchen doors, after inspectors issued three stop sales over the last year.
"It happens in every restaurant. They come in and they're doing their job and we do our best to keep up with them," Toller said in talking about the state health inspectors.
He gave Ryan a tour of the kitchen and as he walked into his main cooler, Toller explained, "Everything's labeled, everything's dated."
Toller specifically showed Ryan that main cooler because it was written up on October 8th after inspectors issued a stop sale on over four pounds of sauce, baked beans, ground meat and bacon dressing because they were all between 48 and 50 degrees, when they should be 41 degrees or colder.
Toller went on to say, "All fixed, all been repaired, immediately fixed it. Threw everything out, boom gone."
But it wasn't Sioux City's first stop sale this year. According to a June 13th inspection, the state found one and a half pounds of cooked ground meat not properly cooled and at a dangerous temperature.
And the temperature of that same cooler was even an issue back on January 10th, when the restaurant was forced to throw out 40 pounds of chicken and beef, 15 gallons of dressing and various amounts of salmon, filet beef and sirloin because of temperatures that could make customers sick.
"It was a lot of food. 25 pounds of chicken, 15 pounds of beef," Ryan said.
"Yeah, that cooler broke. It was a while back," Toller said.
"So a whole cooler went down?" Ryan asked.
"The whole thing. We had to replace the whole compressor and everything," Toller explained.
Over the last ten months, inspectors also documented food safety issues including employees not washing their hands, barehand contact on ready to eat food, employees not properly trained or certified, raw chicken stored over cooked beef, a cross contamination issue, and food not date marked.
"Have you retrained your employees?" Ryan asked.
"Yep, everything is good," Toller responded.
Toller admits sometimes mistakes do occur, but he's confident in how they're handled.
"We're human, things happen. But we stay on top of it. They just checked us. We do our best to fix everything," he added.
SIOUX CITY STEAKHOUSE RESPONSE:
"We work darned hard to do what is expected of us by the state, but more importantly by our guests. After 13 years, we are not feeding customers but most of the time friends and neighbors. We know we are not perfect but do understand our responsibility of proper and safe food handling."
Sally Lee - Sioux City Steakhouse Owner