Pietro’s Prime, quiet on a Thursday morning


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After relatively few health code violations were reported over the summer, I was beginning to wonder if there was even a need for this series. Well, friends, those doubts were put to rest this month. We are back with a full slate of violators, many with multiple infractions. No forced closures, but a lot of questionable actions are well worth your attention, including some support to Split Rail’s claim that all restaurants, especially those downtown, will battle cockroaches at one time or another. 

China Palace, 1251 West Chester Pike, out, 4 violations. After a brief moment of improvement last month, the China Palace, which has been fighting a summer-long battle with cockroaches, is again out of compliance. In mid-September, they were cited with 14 violations including storing fried chicken on cardboard trays outside on the patio furniture and bags of rice and flour under an awning in the alleyway. They were also directed to, “Clean the interior and exterior of all kitchen food service equipment including wok, fryers, steel tables, shelves, refrigerators/freezers, hood (and filters).” By the time of its latest inspection on Sept. 20, just four violations remained. Unfortunately, one of those was the continued presence of cockroaches. 

While I normally don’t go back to previous reports, preferring to give management and staff credit for correcting what was wrong, sometimes it’s a useful tool in understanding a more chronic problem. 

The Red Sombrero, 1528 Paoli Pike, out, 13 violations, including food stored improperly and uncovered, an employee seen washing his hands without soap, and all the dishes being washed without being sanitized. The restaurant was ordered to hang signs reminding employees to wash their hands, and to “retrain employees on proper handwashing procedure” and “how to properly wash, rinse and sanitize dishes.”

La Rancherita Mexican Taqueria, 323 E. Gay St., out, 3 violations, including improperly stored foods and a cooler that wasn’t keeping foods cold enough. 

Kung Fu Tea, 2 E. Gay St., out, 12 violations, including tongs used for handling raw chicken observed still marked with chicken residue from the previous day, opened foods not date marked, and foods not stored at proper temperatures to limit bacteria growth. The milk was discarded and the chicken and eggs were moved to a colder location. 

Nudy’s Cafe, 300 W. Market St., out, 12 violations, including chocolate chips found in an open box in the basement on a shelf under a rusty HVAC vent. “Once open, store these in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid,” the report read. Seems like good advice. Also, the grill is leaking, the dumpster has no lid, and employees were found lacking in basic food safety knowledge. “There appear to be no cooling procedures in place. Staff must take temperatures, use shallow pans, ice baths, ice wands to quickly cool foods. Retrain staff,” the inspector noted.

Los Alquisiras. Inc, 501 E. Gay St., out, 9 violations including cleaning chemicals being stored over the beans in the back, a restricted pesticide being applied by an unlicensed operator, and a refrigeration unit unable to keep foods properly cooled. 

Pietro’s Prime, 125 W. Market St., out, 9 violations, including raw meats stored above produce and other ready-to-eat foods. One employee was observed adding a food garnish to plates with bare hands and another was seen returning a used knife to storage without a proper cleaning. Broken glass was found on the floor and shelves, and German cockroaches were found in the kitchen and bar area. According to the report a “treatment” had “recently taken place.” Still, management was advised to, “Continue to work with licensed pest control to reduce and eradicate pests.” 

Also, out of compliance this month the kitchens of three West Chester Area schools including Pierce, whose cafeteria was found to have a malfunctioning ventilation duct and a refrigerator that was letting foods get too warm. Fortunately, there was a technician onsite and the unit was serviced immediately. Glen Acres was cited for having a few broken appliances lying around. On the positive side, they weren’t being used, just in the way. Fern Hill was out for using a malfunctioning fridge and not having a Chester County Food Certified Food Manager onsite. 

Finally, as you may recall CVS Pharmacy on Pottstown Pike was out of compliance last month. I am not sure why you would need to, but if you find yourself dining at the CVS take comfort in knowing they are back in compliance with the Health Department. 

You can find all the Restaurant Inspection reports here. Search by location for more detail. 

Originally published, Oct. 6, 2023

This story is part of a longer weekly West Chester newsletter. Curious what else is going on? You can find the full issue here and the latest newsletter here. Even easier? Subscribe here to get future issues delivered directly to your inbox.

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