What the Middletown Steak ‘n Shake closed for health violations must do before it can reopen

The Steak ‘n Shake location in Middletown had its food service license suspended for two weeks by the Middletown City Board of Health Tuesday.

Jackie Phillips, city health commissioner, said the notice to close was given to the restaurant at 3170 Towne Blvd. about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

An appeal hearing was held Tuesday morning following two previous pre-administrative hearings due to multiple failed inspections. Between July 2017 and March 2019, there have been 21 inspections and a total of 296 violations with 36 listed as critical violations and the other 260 violations were non-critical.

The suspension, which can be extended or altered by the Board of Health, runs until April 23. The restaurant will need written permission from the Board of Health to reopen.

The person who answered the phone at the Middletown restaurant said “no comment” and hung up on this news outlet.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Phillips said her department has not received a response from Steak ‘n Shake officials.

ExploreMORE: Steak ‘n Shake closes 2 Butler County locations until franchisee can be found

According to the letter from the city Board of Health, in order to lift the suspension, the restaurant must take these steps:

• All food employees must obtain person-in-charge certification.

• Documentation of completed training must be submitted to the City of Middletown Health Department

• At least one manager must obtain managers certification in food protection.

• Documentation of competed training must be submitted to the City of Middletown Health Department.

• The entire facility’s floors, walls, ceiling and equipment must be cleaned.

• The new alto shaam, an oven that cooks food quickly and keeps it hot, must be in place.

• The facility must provide and maintain a cleaning schedule/log and submit it to the health department for approval.

ExploreMORE: Steak ‘n Shake says restaurant shutdowns here and elsewhere are temporary

Officials said there had been two pre-administrative hearings held, on April 12, 2019 and on Jan. 9, 2019, with the health department, which also increased inspection frequency in 2018.

In the pre-administrative hearing held Jan. 9, 2019, the restaurant agreed to action items including increased training and strict adherence to a cleaning schedule.

However, city health department officials said the restaurant failed to maintain the facility in a sanitary manner and has not maintained its cleaning log.

Phillips said this was the third time in 21 years a restaurant has been shut down due to an illness or equipment issues.

“We’re really respectful to businesses and their employees and we’re cognitive how a closure can hurt them,” she said. “We really try to work with them but food safety and the safety of our residents must take precedence.”

Phillips said with the outbreak of Hepatitis A and other diseases such as E coli, etc., restaurants need to be more vigilant than ever in their operations by making sure their facilities are clean and that food is cooked properly.

The 621-unit Steak ‘n Shake chain operates 12 restaurants in Butler, Warren, Hamilton and Clermont counties. Ten of them were temporarily closed in late March while locations in Hamilton and West Chester were closed in late January. The Indianapolis-based chain also operates nine restaurants in the Dayton-Springfield area.

Steak ‘n Shake’s violations July 2017 to March 2019

Total of Violations: 296

36 Critical violations - Violations that pose an immediate threat to food safety and are more likely to directly contribute to food contamination and/or foodborne illness.

260 Non -Critical violations - Violations that pose a lesser threat to food safety, but negatively affect the overall sanitation level of a facility, and left unaddressed, could become critical violations.

SOURCE: Middletown City Board of Health

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