Restaurant Report: Chains Rate "Fair"

By: Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) - People may not be able to say, "Thank God It's Friday" in regards to the T.G.I. Friday's at Westroads Mall if it continues to rate "Fair" after health inspections.

On December 13th last year, the chain restaurant received nine critical and nine non-critical violations.

Cleaned utensils with food still on them, broken and missing floor tiles, dirty and damaged dish racks and cockroaches were some of the mark-ups.

Spokeswoman Trisha Bruynell released a statement:

"We take inspections like this very seriously and our restaurant took immediate actions to address every issue in this matter. As a result, all equipment and utensils have been repaired and the mall is taking the lead with us and other tenants in regards to pest control. As an added measure, we've re-trained all team members on food preparation guidelines and the reinforcement of our restaurant cleaning schedules."

International Buffet off 48th and L streets was first rated "Fair" after 17 violations were cited on January 4, 2012.

A health inspector found a live cockroach and also saw employees serve food without washing their hands first. Last month, on January 16th the restaurant was rated "Excellent".

FOX 42 tried to talk with the manager. He said he'd have to decline because the restaurant was packed with customers.

"Hopefully you can respect that where I'm coming from," he said.

Douglas County Health Department closed the Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet on Oakview Drive on January 8th this year, but let the owners re-open two days later.

But officials said after customers saw the closed sign posted to the doors many customers stopped going, which ultimately put the restaurant out of business.

On the doors now is a sign announcing the place will reopen under new management as a Japanese buffet.

Deke Reichardt was proud of the "Excellent" rating Jackson St. Tavern has consistently received.

The chef and co-owner said to fix the past violations of leaving clean shot glasses on the counters; staff now places them on rubber mats.

"We keep the mats clean on a daily basis and so any of the glassware, shot glasses, etc. are up off of the counter surface," Reichardt said.

He noted that the local, contemporary American restaurant can do better and "shoot for that 'superior' rating".

"By no means are perfect 100 percent of the time, but we're very conscientious about it. It's very important to us."

Lina's Mexican Restaurant located on 144th Street rated "Fair" twice within a year. The owner will speak with exclusively with FOX 42 News in next week's Restaurant Report.