ASHEVILLE - A local restaurant has announced a temporary closure following a low health inspection score.
On March 9, Tommy’s Family Restaurant, at 247 N. Main St. in Weaverville, informed customers via social media that the business will be closed for kitchen improvements and renovations.
The social media post stated:
“We are currently closed to improve our kitchen and do some minor renovations. We will be closed for now, but hope to be back up and running on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Thanks for your patience. See y'all soon!”
The announcement follows Tommy’s Family Restaurant receiving a score of 72 out of 100 on a follow-up health inspection performed by the Buncombe County Health & Human Services on March 7 – the lowest score it's received in recent inspections.
Jessica Silver, Environmental Health Administrator for BCHHS, said in an email that Tommy’s Family Restaurant’s permit to operate was suspended on March 7.
"The facility was given 30 days to address repeat food safety violations. After thirty days, the operator failed to address food safety issues which resulted in a permit suspension," she said.
The restaurant must address issues identified in the inspection report to have the permit suspension lifted and will have to demonstrate active managerial control by addressing the violations observed on the inspection report, she said.
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On Dec. 29, 2021, Tommy’s Family Restaurant received a health score of 90.
On June 22, 2022, the restaurant received a score of 81.5.
On Aug. 2, 2022, the restaurant received a score of 90.5.
On Dec. 8, 2022, the restaurant received a score of 88.
On Feb. 2, the restaurant received a score of 78.5.
Multiple follow-up visits to Tommy's Family Restaurant were made between each inspection, Silver said.
"The lowest score a restaurant can receive and remain open is a 70. If a score is lower than a 70, an immediate permit revocation is issued and the restaurant must close," Silver said.
However, a permit may be immediately suspended regardless of the score, which may be determined by the violation and frequency of the violation observed and the risk of foodborne illness associated with continuing noncompliance with the N.C. Food Code, she said.
No recent complaints or reports of illnesses had been received by, confirmed, or linked to the restaurant by the department at the time of publication.
The reinspection report from March 7, in which the restaurant received a score of 72, notes that there were new and ongoing repeat and critical violations that required immediate action.
One of the ongoing issues is that the person in charge is not a certified food protection manager, according to the inspector’s remarks.
“PERSON IN CHARGE shall demonstrate to the REGULATORY AUTHORITY knowledge of foodborne disease prevention, application of the HAZARD Analysis and CRITICAL CONTROL POINT principles, and the requirements of this Code. The PERSON IN CHARGE shall demonstrate this knowledge by complying with this Code by having no violations of PRIORITY ITEMS during the current inspection. The same violations have been addressed repeatedly in inspections, education has been provided during the inspections, after the inspections, food safety booklet provided twice. Immediate permit action taken,” the report stated.
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Violations listed from the March 7 report included issues with food temperatures, food not properly reheated, food sitting out without refrigeration for too long, food kept past their expiration dates, mislabeling, and cleaning products and insect spray not properly stored.
Other violations included:
"Tommy’s Family Restaurant has been working with our Environmental Health staff and other food safety professionals to educate their staff and make the necessary improvements to have their permit suspension lifted," Silver said.
View the full health inspection reports at buncombe-nc.healthinspections.us/reports.cfm.
Silver recommends anyone who suspects they have a foodborne illness should seek care from their primary care physician as needed.
Complaints can be received by the BCHHS-Communicable Disease section at 828-250-5109 and/or by calling Environmental Health at 828-250-5016.
Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with asubscription to the Citizen Times.