Dover’s King Buffet reopens after public health violations

King Buffet in Dover has reopened after being shut down because of health code violations. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Management for an eatery temporarily shuttered for public health violations in late 2018 vowed Thursday to maintain state-mandated cleanliness requirements moving forward.

Plumbing infrastructure at King Buffet was upgraded as well, manager Maggie Jiang said. The establishment was closed on Dec. 19 following an inspection and reopened Dec. 26 when violations were corrected, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Ms. Jiang said the business at 293 N. Dupont Highway will remain committed to maintaining high standards now in place.

“We took the inspections very seriously and spent many days and hours after that fixing the problems,” Ms. Jiang said as a steady stream of diners arrived, ate and left in the early afternoon.

“ … We would have been closed a couple days around Christmas anyway and took that extra time to do what needed to be done. We took everything out, cleaned it and brought it all back in.”

The restaurant was categorized as a “high risk establishment” by the DPH in a report and an increased number of inspections were forthcoming “every three to four months until you can be considered a medium risk establishment.”

DPH ordered King Buffet to be sprayed by a pest management service “once a week for the next three months to eliminate all remaining pest(s) in your establishment.”

A copy of the scheduled services was to be emailed or faxed to officials no later than Thursday, according to the DPH. Hard copies were required to be kept at the buffet and “accessible for all future inspections.

“Failure to have documentation for each scheduled date may result in closure for not following reopening guidelines to minimize/eliminate pest(s) from establishment.”

The DPH reported that a pest management service went to King Buffet on Dec. 21-22 and an inspection later revealed no live or dead roaches seen.

“Please continue to work on core violations,” a DPH inspector wrote in a report on Dec. 26 that re-opened the buffet.

“At this time you can bring food and equipment back into establishment. (Please clean and sanitize all equipment before use.)”

The buffet was asked to “Please fix hand sink in staff bathroom in kitchen.”

Prior to the cleanup order, inspectors reported seeing “about 10 live roaches in the wait station, behind ice cream cooler in buffet area, in light shields above soda machine in kitchen and in cracks of wood in storage area.

“Multiple dead roaches were also observed in the areas listed above and in buffet steam tables.”

A pest control professional recommended that an aerosol fogging would need at least 24 hours up to 48 hours to be effective, and the premises needed to be empty. All food to go containers needed to be removed from the premises during fogging, and surfaces cleaned and sanitized following the application, including dishes and utensils, according to a DPH report.

A followup inspection on Dec. 21 noted that multiple violations were corrected, including no plumbing issues after a visit by City of Dover staff, an ice machine was cleaned and sanitized, a hand washing sink was accessible, along with paper towels and soap at the Mongolian Bar-B-Que hand sink, along with medicines removed from the establishment.

A $50 reinspection fee was assessed, with another $100 fee possible if the next visit produced a failed inspection.

An initial inspection on Dec. 19 detected multiple violations including, among others, raw eggs over ready to eat eggs in a walk-in, no gloves in use to separate/prepare food, number of utensils contaminated with food debris/mold, ice machine full of mold, staff cutting lemons without gloves, unclean food contact surfaces, a meat slicer with caked on food debris and a hand wash sink blocked by containers, aprons and other items.

The initial purpose of the inspection was listed as “complaint/routine” by DPH.

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