.

Restaurant Inspection Report: Rodent Dropping Problem Fixed at Grumpy's

Inspectors found more than 90 rodent droppings during a recent visit to Grumpy's Tap Room. Owner Rick Clowes says the pest problem at the popular outdoor restaurant has been fixed.

If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you're probably aware of the strict sanitation standards that staff must adhere to. You're also probably aware that inspectors from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation can drop by for surprise inspections. The inspection reports are a "snapshot" of conditions present at the time of the inspection and may not be representative of the overall long-term conditions at the restaurant, according to the department's website.

So how did your favorite restaurant fare during its most recent inspection?  

Here's a look at the most recent two inspection reports for Grumpy's Tap Room, which is located at 1026 Nebraska Ave. The inspections were conducted on Sept. 13 and 14. An interview with Grumpy's Tap Room owner, Rick Clowes,follows the inspection reports.

Inspection Date: Sept. 13, 2012

Result: Follow-up inspection required. Violations require further review, but are not an immediate threat to the public.

Critical Violations: 14

  • Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food prepared on site and held more than 24 hours, not properly date marked. (chili and cooked ground beef in walk-in cooler)
  • Observed food stored on floor. (walk-in cooler)
  • Observed uncovered food in holding unit/dry storage area. (bowl of food shells and uncovered container of chips on table near deli-style reach-in cooler in kitchen)
  • Observed interior of microwave soiled. (in kitchen)
  • Observed interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue. (small reach-in cooler under service counter)
  • No hand washing sign provided at a hand sink used by food employees. (main bar)
  • No hand washing sign provided at a hand sink used by food employees. (bar near restrooms)
  • Observed rodent activity as evidenced by two rodent droppings found. (corner near kitchen hand sink)
  • Observed rodent activity as evidenced by more than 80 dry rodent droppings found in storage room near service window area.
  • Observed rodent activity as evidenced by 10 dry rodent droppings found at bar near restrooms.
  • Outer openings of establishment cannot be properly sealed when not in operation. (large gaps in bar area at swing doors near door leading to outside dining)
  • Outer openings not protected and vermin and/or environmental cross-contamination present. (service window to kitchen open with wiring for tickets across opening; not closed as required by plan review)
  • Outer openings not protected and vermin and/or environmental cross-contamination present. (gaps doors to storage room)
  • Manager lacking proof of Food Manager Certification.

Non-Critical Violations: 7

  • Observed gaskets/seals on cold holding unit in poor repair. (reach-in cooler near service window) 
  • Observed build-up of food debris, dust or dirt on nonfood-contact surface. (shelf under grill)
  • Observed build-up of food debris, dust or dirt on nonfood-contact surface. (prep table/shelf near 3 compartment sink)
  • Observed single-service items stored on floor. (box of to-go containers, storage room)
  • Observed grease accumulated under cooking equipment.
  • Observed food/leaves debris accumulated on bar floor and inside dining near kitchen
  • Observed food debris/chewed cracker wrappers accumulated on storage room floor behind and next to freezer

Inspection Date: Sept. 14, 2012

Result: Follow-up inspection required. Violations require further review, but are not an immediate threat to the public.

Critical Violations: 4

  • Outer openings of establishment cannot be properly sealed when not in operation. (large gaps in bar area at swing doors near door leading to outside dining)
  • Outer openings not protected and vermin and/or environmental cross-contamination present. (gaps doors to storage room)
  • Outer openings not protected and vermin and/or environmental cross-contamination present. (service window to kitchen open with wiring for tickets across opening; not closed as required by plan review- temporarily installed roll-down cover)
  • Manager lacking proof of Food Manager Certification.

Non-Critical Violations: 1

  • Observed gaskets/seals on cold holding unit in poor repair. (reach-in cooler near service window)

Grumpy's Tap Room owner Rick Clowes opened this popular casual dining restaurant in Old Downtown Palm Harbor in November of 2011. The restaurant seats 124 people and has a large outdoor patio and a bar area that is also open-air. Clowes says because much of the restaurant is outside, it is exposed to critters like squirrels and rodents. He says state inspectors paid the restaurant a visit after getting an anonymous phone call that Clowes thinks may have come from a former employee.

"This is an outdoor bar. We knew we had some rats because we caught a bunch of them. We caught probably five or six. We thought we had them all and the anonymous phone call was given. Then they came in (state inspectors) and looked around and they found the big problem was back in the storage room. Actually, I'm kind of glad that they did come in because we want to make sure we don't have problems," he said.

Clowes said he hired an exterminator after inspectors found more than 90 rodent droppings.

"So the rat situation has been taken care of. There's still rats out there, they're all over the neighborhood. We've got feral cats running around. The other problem, we have squirrels and some of my staff was feeding the squirrels and they were buying peanuts. ... I kept saying don't feed the squirrels, don't feed the squirrels and everybody kept feeding them."

Clowes says he is also working to have a sliding window installed at a "pass-through" shelf where completed food orders are passed from the kitchen to the dining room. Once the window is installed, it will allow staff to seal off the kitchen to prevent pests from entering.

He is also considering installing a sliding glass door to the dry storage room, which would also seal off that room from pests. Restaurant equipment and a small amount of canned foods are stored in the room. Eventually, he would like to build a storage area for the restaurant at the parking lot he owns across Nebraska Ave.

Clowes also says he and his staff also pressure-washed the inside of the restaurant and took care of other problems mentioned in the inspection. Inspectors have given him until November 20, to get his Food Manager Certification and finish sealing off the kitchen.

Clowes invited Palm Harbor Patch for a tour of Grumpy's Tap Room including the kitchen and storage area. He says he'll be happy to show the kitchen to anyone who wants to check it out (see accompanying photos).

During our visit to Grumpy's, the bar was filled with a happy group of patrons who appeared to know one another and were having a good time. Grumpy's customers recently voted the restaurant "Best Burger" in Palm Harbor Patch's Reader's Choice Contest. You'll hear more about Grumpy's Best Burgers honor, in an upcoming story. 

By the way, Clowes says Grumpy's Tap Room is up for sale. The 66-year-old says he is getting too old to be running a restaurant.

Related Coverage:

  • PDF versions of the Grumpy's Tap Room state inspection reports are included in the photo section of this article.
  • Downtown Bar Finally Gets a New Face
  • New Restaurant to Open in Historic Downtown Palm Harbor

Interested in other Restaurant Inspection Reports?

  • Restaurant Inspection Report: Roach Problem at Flap Jacks Fixed
  • Peggy O'Neill's Closed for Health Violations
  • Restaurant Inspection Report: The Thirsty Marlin
  • Restaurant Inspection Report: Emily's Family Restaurant

An explanation of violations from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation website:

The department cites violations of Florida's sanitation and safety laws, which are based on the standards of U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Code. In general, critical violations are those that, if not corrected, are more likely to contribute directly to food contamination, illness or environmental damage. Although we use the industry-standard term "critical", varying degrees of severity and potential risk to the public require inspectors to assess each situation in determining the appropriate action. In addition, while an establishment may have multiple violations, the inspectors' training and judgment formulate the overall result of the inspection to ensure the public health and safety. While most establishments correct all violations in a timely manner (often during the inspection), the division's procedures are designed to compel compliance with all violations through follow-up visits, administration action or closure when necessary.

Grumpy's Tap Room is located at 1026 Nebraska Ave. (727) 272-5424

Jane November 09, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Rick....don't through rocks at Bill when your wife is a drunk herself! You are a disgusting businessman who seriously needs to have a good look in the mirror.
Jane November 09, 2012 at 11:45 PM
And I know I spelt throw wrong before the spelling police come on!
judith k November 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM
oh yeah that ugly mean old lady is drinking at 9 am.. furthermore she was bleeding and served food with blood in it, tried to pass it off as ketchup... yes, health dept has been called again, she needs to just go away,, what a waste..
judith k November 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM
jane you are so correct in your statement
Alfred June 03, 2013 at 05:45 PM
I spent a lot of time at both Billy Jack's and Grumpy's.... The cook at Billy Jack's was constantly working, cleaning prepping food, removing trash... highly motivated. The cook at Grumpy's is often not to be found or lounging outside smoking a cigarrette or up in the front room enjoying the A.C. He is not nearly as dilligent. Small wonder there was an investation.... to make it worse, Rick the owner worked the kitchen atleast once a week... and he didn;t even take the time to notice the rat droppings...

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »