Up to Code: Restaurant Horror Stories

There’s been few instances since my move to West Michigan that restaurant outbreaks make headlines. While probably a good thing, it’s not particularly exciting - and probably poor journalism. Though GR has clearly stepped it up in the beer and art departments, we struggle to produce the major food-borne outbreaks that truly make up a city. So I took it upon myself to hear the stories that make you despise the mongrels who prepare your food.

Shane Green is the supervising sanitarian for the Kent County Environmental Health Food Program. Most of the violations he sees are fairly benign, but after working in the field for 15 years there have been more than a few joints that are the best at being the worst. In one instance, after walking into the kitchen of a certain facility he “heard this popping sound coming out the backdoor…” The popping sound came from a pellet gun that was being fired at soon-to-be-served doves. Other stories included car hoods being used to dry noodles out and kitty litter containers reused as food storage. The worst by far was in response to guest “complaints of bugs floating in their pops and water…” Popping the top of the ice machine revealed a massive hive of “cockroach nymphs.” Instead of suggesting the proprietors consider killing themselves, the restaurant was immediately shut down until the problem was handled. 

Green did say that the aforementioned stories are extremely rare and wasn’t willing to disclose the names or locations of the restaurants, but I believe it’s safe to assume they’re all on the west side. A quick search of the public records on accessKent confirmed that it is a very boring website, but left me with no more than my location stereotypes as proof. Nevertheless, with more than 2,600 various violations in 2013 alone it’s safe to assume that all of your favorite restaurants (not found within the pages of Revue)  are filthy E. coli time bombs. 

For more info, check out: swordsolutions.com/Inspections