Report: Gratiot Ave. Popeyes in video had many violations

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Detroit is closed Tuesday after a video showing unsanitary conditions inside the restaurant went viral on Facebook.

A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in east Detroit shown in a viral video with unsanitary conditions had many Michigan food law violations, from bugs to broken equipment, a city inspection found.

Following more than 100 customer calls sparked by worker Shakita Shemere's Facebook footage July 23 depicting insects, re-used dirty dishes, water-covered floors and other issues there, the Detroit Health Department closed the restaurant at 14180 Gratiot the next day and sent in an inspector, the city report said.

The inspector observed a host of violations, including soiled dishes on a storage rack intended for clean ones, six coleslaw containers stored in a cooler above 41 degrees, food debris across boxes of seasoned chicken flour on a storage shelf, a malfunctioning upright freezer and wood rotting or damaged from leaks in a cabinet under a pop machine, according to the analysis.

The eatery also had house flies in the front lobby, fruit flies in the kitchen and single-service items such as straws and beverage carriers stored in a cabinet below the pop machine station near an open drain line, health officials said.

In response to the inspection, restaurant staff immediately corrected the issues, according to the city. Within 48 hours, they had re-washed and sanitized dirty dishes, moved the coleslaw to another cooler, discarded dirtied sugar and flour, fixed the freezer, replaced the damaged cabinet, tossed out affected single-service items and repaired the pop machine, the report found.

Popeyes workers cleaned the facility throughout the initial inspection, and no roaches or black bugs were found, according to the findings.

Orkin pest control, which normally visits once a month, treated the site that day, the inspector noted. The city health department recommended managers increase the sweeps to twice monthly. 

The location cannot reopen until the health department approves it and a plan is submitted to prevent violations, according to the report. 

Popeyes representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.