Kitchen in South Florida assisted living facility ordered shut

Strathmore Bagels & Deli, China Lake also make Dirty Dining list

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - The kitchen in one of South Florida's largest assisted living facilities was ordered shut after 28 violations were found last week.

Ward Towers is part of Miami-Dade County public housing. The facility is at 5301 NW 23rd Ave. There are two buildings with a total of 300 units. All the residents are elderly and low-income.

The kitchen services at Ward Towers are contracted out to Independent Living Systems.

Last week, an inspector found live roaches behind cooking equipment in the kitchen and more than 100 dead roaches behind cooking equipment. There were hand-washing issues and a stop sale was issued on rice pudding and tuna due to temperature abuse.

Nestor Plana, chairman and CEO of Independent Living Systems, said he was embarrassed about what happened and told Local 10 News that people will lose their jobs because of it.

Plana said the situation is being taken seriously, and exterminators come once a week. He invited Local 10 News to come back once a problem with the roof has been fixed by the county.

Local 10 News then moved north to Sunrise.

Strathmore Bagels & Deli is east of Sunrise City Hall on West Oakland Park Boulevard. Among the 20 violations found there last week were rodent issues in the kitchen.

Before Local 10 News reporter Jeff Weinsier could ask about the rodent issue, a manager at the deli said that they've since repaired a broken cooler in the kitchen.

"Anything else that you want to know?" she asked Weinsier.

"Yeah, I want to know why you had a rodent issue," Weinsier said.

She said it was because the dishwasher "was old."

At China Lake, located at 1560 NE 165th St., the kitchen there was ordered shut last week.

The 16 violations found by an inspector included live roaches on a shelf and on a prep table, and rodent droppings in a storage room.

"Is the kitchen clean?" Weinsier asked. 

"Yeah," an employee said. 

"Can we look?" Weinsier asked. "Can we come in with the camera and look?"

"No, you can't do that," the employee said. 

All the places mentioned were allowed to reopen following an ordered cleanup and re-inspection.

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