These Midlands restaurants had the lowest health inspection ratings last month

While inspecting Columbia-area restaurants, health department inspectors found violations ranging from raw sewage spew to dead roaches, according to January’s inspection reports.

The State took a look at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s inspection reports for food establishments across the Midlands. These restaurants received some of the lowest ratings in January.

  • Flaming Grill Supreme Buffet, Afton Court in Columbia

During their Jan. 7 inspection, Flaming Grill Supreme Buffet was awarded a 75 percent or a C, according to a health department report.

While at the restaurant, inspectors found “numerous dead roaches” underneath the hibachi bar and in one of the restrooms, though no live pests were spotted, according to the report. A dirty sink was being used as an ice bath for cooked noodles. Screen doors to the kitchen were left open throughout the inspection. Foods in the walk-in freezer allegedly were not frozen. Dirty utensils were stored with clean ones.

Inspectors also noticed employees eating while cooking and touching prepared foods with their bare hands, according to the report. Pieces or raw chicken, along with their juices, were spotted in a container of raw beef in the kitchen’s cooler.

On past inspections. Flaming Grill has secured seven C’s and three B’s, according to DHEC records. During a follow-up inspection on Jan. 17, the restaurant was given a 99 percent or an A.

  • San Jose, Old Orangeburg Road in Lexington

San Jose in Lexington was inspected Jan. 16 and awarded a 78 percent or a B, according to a health department report.

Inspectors spotted rotten produce stored in the same boxes as their fresher counterparts, according to an inspection report. Employees were cooking with dirty and torn gloves, and were also seen touching ready to eat foods with their bare hands. Containers of food were stored without being properly covered.

According to DHEC records, San Jose has only received one C and two B’s in past inspections. During a Jan. 23 follow-up, the restaurant earned a perfect score.

  • Pawley’s Front Porch, Harden Street in Columbia

Five Points eatery Pawley’s Front Porch scored a 78 percent or a B after a Jan. 28 inspection, according to a health department report.

While inspecting the restaurant, health department employees noticed standing water in the walk-in cooler and sink areas, according to inspection reports. Floors throughout the area were covered in grease and food debris. The ceiling and its air returns had an “accumulation of dust and grease.” Equipment in the kitchen were also covered in the substances. Employees were also spotted not washing hands between tasks.

Pawley’s has a history of scoring well on health inspections, with only two B’s on its record. The restaurant has yet to be seen for a follow-up inspection.

  • Vella’s Restaurant and Tavern, Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce

During a routine inspection Jan. 14, Vella’s Restaurant and Tavern in Cayce scored an 80 percent or a B, according to a health department report.

The restaurant’s ice machine had a grime or rust accumulation inside of it, according to an inspection report. A pipe outside of the restaurant was missing a cap, leaving sewage to spill on the ground. Ceiling tiles in the kitchen area were missing, and walls were not properly sealed to the floor. Multiple refrigerators in the restaurant were not able to keep the correct temperature.

In past inspections, Vellas has scored all A’s. The restaurant had a follow-up inspection Jan. 16 and received a 99 percent.

Did you like this story? Check out our previous restaurant inspection reports.

December’s worst health inspections

November’s worst health inspections

October’s worst health inspections

September’s worst health inspections

Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.