Orange Park, FL

Restaurant inspections: Orange Park restaurant gets fine for violations

Don Johnson

Pasta Market Italian Restaurant and Clam Bar in Orange Park received a fine of $1,600 from state restaurant inspectors last month.

The restaurant, 1930 Kingsley Ave, has been inspected seven times by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation since last October. During a restaurant inspection on Oct. 22, the restaurant was cited for 29 violations, including seven considered high priority – the most severe violation.

Among the violations, inspectors found 17 live roaches in the establishment: 13 on the main cook line in the kitchen, three in the kitchen by the pizza oven and one in the server station across from the bar. Also, two live flies were observed in the back kitchen area. The inspection report said 29 dead roaches were found in the kitchen area.

A violation of time/temperature control also was found with certain foods in the walk-in cooler above 41 degrees.

The inspection report said the following food was stored at 47 degrees: two cases of cheese tortellini, one bag of blue cheese crumbles, one bag of raw bacon, nine blocks of mozzarella cheese, two pans of cooked pasta, one case of heavy whipping cream, two gallons of milk, one pan of cooked rice, two pans of sausage, four pans of beef, one bag of clams and one case of fish.

The department said in an email to Newsbreak that the restaurant received an Emergency Order and Suspension of License (temporary closure) on Oct. 22, 2021.

The violations that warranted the Emergency Order were not corrected on a visit the following day or on the next visit on Oct. 25, 2021. However, all violations were corrected at a later visit on Oct. 25 and the inspectors dropped the Emergency Order allowing the restaurant to resume operations, according to the email.

“An Emergency Order will always result in administrative disciplinary action because the establishment allowed conditions to persist that were an immediate danger to the health and safety of the public,” the email said.

Meanwhile, the restaurant’s food service license expired on June 1, 2022.

“The division will address Pasta Market’s delinquent license through an inspection in the coming days and will continue to monitor Pasta Market’s compliance with Florida’s sanitation and safety laws, according to the department’s email.

An administrative complaint was filed on Nov. 15, 2021, citing the violations found and asking that penalties be accessed. On May 4, the department issued its final order on the violations, saying that the restaurant’s owner had not responded asking for a hearing on the matter and the restaurant received the $1,600 fine.

Angie Wolters, the restaurant's current manager, told Newsbreak that the restaurant was temporarily closed by inspectors during a weekend in October and the violations were corrected so the eatery could reopen on Monday, Oct. 25.

The owner, Sam Hamidi, could have asked for a hearing on the violations, but didn’t respond to the department. Hamidi declined comment. Wolters said he probably was unaware that he needed to respond.

Wolters said the issues developed because the restaurant was short-staffed during that time. She said new staffing has resolved some of the past problems.

“If something is wrong, we will fix it,” she said.

State inspectors returned to the restaurant on Wednesday and found 15 violations, including three high priority.

The restaurant received a warning because it was operating with an expired Division of Hotels and Restaurants license – a high priority violation.

Inspectors also found about 16 dead roaches in a non-working reach-in cooler on the cook line. Employees began to clean up dead roaches during the inspection. One dead roach was found in a non-working walk-in freezer. One dead roach was found in the hallway leading to bathrooms.

A follow-up inspection is required, according to the inspection report completed on Wednesday.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation says that each inspection report is a "snapshot" of conditions present at the time of the inspection. On any given day, an establishment may have fewer or more violations than noted in their most recent inspection. Inspections conducted on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long-term conditions at the establishment, according to the department. Because conditions can change rapidly, establishments are not graded or rated.

To read state restaurant inspection reports on your favorite place to eat, click here. Jacksonville.com also provides a database on state inspection reports of area restaurants. To access the database, click here.

To keep up to date with Clay County news, download the free Newsbreak app from the app store.

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Orange Park restaurant gets fine for violations.(Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

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Veteran journalist with experience in website and newspaper content as an editor and writer. I have worked as a reporter at newspapers and websites in Florida, California and Arkansas. I am a former executive editor at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and worked for 12 years at The Tampa Tribune as an enterprise editor and business editor. At Patch.com, I produced stories for 24 websites in the Tampa Bay area and also edited content for websites in six states.

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