Hunan Garden says it’s clean despite report | NevadaAppeal.com
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Hunan Garden says it’s clean despite report

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Chris Moore, of Reno, adds fried rice to her buffet plate at Hunan Garden restaurant on Thursday. Moore said she loves fried rice. The restaurant's new manager claims that because of the incorrect publication of an old health inspection the restaurant has been losing business.
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The health inspector was getting ready to leave as new restaurant manager Doug Williams walked inside the Hunan Garden.

Surfaces not clean, the inspector had marked. Food stored incorrectly. Evidence of cockroaches or other insects in the establishment.

Williams said he told the city health inspector, Michele Reid, that he was just taking over as head chef and manager at the North Carson Street restaurant. He said he asked if she could come back later to reinspect.

A few hours later, Reid came back. She wrote a report saying the specific problems had been fixed.

That was June 15. On July 11, the health department faxed the initial report to the Nevada Appeal, which ran in the newspaper a week later.

That’s when over half the customers stopped coming, Williams said.

“It’s destroyed my business here. I went from making eighty, ninety thousand dollars a month to barely making a living.”

The restaurant is clean, up to code and deserves to be seen that way, Williams said, but the health department says there’s more details in what happened.

Dustin Boothe, the city’s environmental health supervisor, pointed out that the June inspection was a follow-up to the inspection the department did a month earlier when owner Jonathan Kimben took over the business.

At that time, the Hunan Garden, which specializes in sushi, was cited for improper storage of squid, storing items on the floor and “evidence of rodents in the establishment.”

“In speaking to field staff, my understanding was that at that point it was pretty nasty,” Boothe said.

When the department came back in June, then, it was for a reinspection. Boothe said the department wanted to give the restaurant time to clean and make improvements.

The business was temporarily shut down after the June inspection, however, because of health code violations. But after the second inspection that day, the department let the store reopen.

That was not an official inspection, though, according to Boothe. He said the department only checked the areas that had problems.

Also, the reason the fax was delayed was because the department employee that usually does that had quit, he said.

Williams said he was told about that employee, too.

“I said, ‘That’s fine, but what about me?'”

He said the department also didn’t tell him the second inspection wasn’t an official inspection, and that though he’s talked to Kimben about the past problems – and fired most of his staff the first week he was there – he blames the health department for what’s happened to his business.

“That’s the health department’s fault,” he said. “They dropped the ball on that and screwed me in the process.”

Though business had “plummeted,” he said he will be able to stay open long enough to see business improve.

Before Kimben took over in May, the Hurzel family had owned the restaurant since 1982. Their last health inspection report, which was done in November, cited several things, including a complaint that “employees do not wash hands thoroughly or as often as necessary to remove contamination” and “no soap or paper towels provided at hand sinks.”

Problems cited

Problems cited by the consumer protection division of the Carson City Environmental Health Department at Hunan Garden under the new ownership.

All problems were listed as corrected soon after the inspections.

May 1: Readily perishable cold food stored above proper temperature. Dishwasher sanitizer not strong enough. Evidence of rodents and insects. Items stored on the floor. Squid not properly stored. Refrigerator needs to be reorganized. Pans and containers improperly stacked. All scoops do not have handles. Some surfaces are unclean.

June 15: Readily perishable foods stored at improper temperatures. Evidence of insects in the establishment. Some surfaces unclean.

For your information

When are health inspections required?

Inspections are done when an establishment is remodeled, converted or getting ready to open. Routine inspections are done one to four times a year, depending on how much the establishment works with food. Also, health inspections can done after a formal complaint is filed.

What else does a new establishment have to do for the health department?

Submit a proposed menu as well as a site map and plan showing where major equipment and facilities will be.

Who does the inspections?

The consumer protection division, which is a branch of the environmental health department within health and human services.

What kinds of things do inspectors check for?

How food is prepared, how food is stored, how clean the restaurant is and if the plumbing is connected properly.

What law guides inspections?

Chapter 446 in the Nevada Administrative Code, http://leg.state.nv.us/nac/ nac-446.html.

What would cause a establishment to be shut down?

Substantial health hazards, such as no running water or backed-up sewage. Also, serious repeat violations can get a business closed.

– Source: Carson City Health and Human Services; Dustin Boothe, environmental health supervisor

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.