Health Department Roundup

Health Department Roundup: House of Blues, Sparkle's and more

Which sounds more glamorous, the French cabaret of the 19th century or Houston's Secret Cabaret of the far end of North Shepherd? It's difficult to say - we'd have to travel north on 45, and later back in time, to make an assessment, and we're not going to do either. There are dragons outside the Loop and time travel is impossible. If the latter were different we'd go back to a better era, one before we ever saw Midnight in Paris.

Health inspectors made the journey up the North Freeway, though, and found four violations at Secret Cabaret (7928 N. Shepherd): dirty floors (shocking, we know); equipment that's not in good repair, impossible to keep clean or just toxic; equipment/utensils/food-contact surfaces not clean to sight and touch; and no sanitary towels located next to each sink.

Inspectors also found four violations at House of Blues (1204 Caroline). The ice machine was not set up in a way that prevents contamination (pouring one out for Marvin); equipment or utensils were not designed or maintained properly; the wall/ceiling was in poor repair; and no suitable dispensing utensils were provided during pauses in food preparation/dispensing. None of those is as bad as getting charged $25 for a five-beer bucket of Budweiser.

Sparkles Hamburger Spot (1515 Dowling) -- a place we'd never expect to have a Web site -- got hit with half a dozen violations during an inspection last week. Inspectors found insufficient coating on artificial lights; broken or loose-fitting door or window screens; dirty non-food-contact surfaces; no test kit to measure sanitation solution; floors not constructed of smooth, durable material; and poorly constructed or leaking refuse containers (corrected on site).

CoCo's Crepes (218 Gray) had an even tougher time, racking up seven violations. Issues included food not protected from potential contamination; "prohibited hot food holding facility used for rapid reheating of potentially hazardous food"; maintenance and cleaning tools not maintained and stored in a way that prevents contamination; and mops not stored in a manner that prevents contamination.

Snowflake Donuts (4405 Lockwood) took the prize this week, though, earning ten violations and a temporary closure order. Their highlights included single-service articles not dispensed in a way that prevents contamination; toilet fixtures not kept clean/in good repair; hand-washing sink not provided with sufficiently hot water; unregistered/unapproved pesticide used; effective measures to minimize presence of insects and rodents not taken; and a new one, "living/sleeping quarters not separated from food service operations by complete partitioning and solid self-closing doors." Thanks to the Health Department, we now know you can live and work at a donut shop in Kashmere Gardens. You just need the right kind of doors.

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Blake Whitaker
Contact: Blake Whitaker