Restaurant inspection: Hookah is for customers only

Employees at a Turkish restaurant in Decatur were reminded that the hookah is for the customers, not the employees.

Points were taken off during a recent routine inspection at Istanbul Café, 1850 Lawrenceville Highway, because an employee was smoking a hookah while working behind the bar. Tobacco use of any form is forbidden around food prep, storage or service areas. Hookahs can only be smoked by customers in a designated area.

The Istanbul employee stopped smoking, but the restaurant still failed the inspection with 55/U. The café had previous scores of 81/B and 84/B.

There were other health safety risk factor violations, including not having a certified food safety manager on staff. The cafe had been warned during previous inspections to fill this position.

Also, employees were careless when following food safety codes. One was cutting cucumbers for salad toppings without wearing gloves. Two employees were drinking out of open containers in food prep areas. The employee sink at the bar had no soap or paper towels.

Food was removed from a prep cooler because the air temperature was too high. Some items were discarded. The inspector said containers of eggplant and eggplant sauce, hummus, yogurt with potatoes and cooked chicken did not have clearly marked disposal dates.

Some food items in another cooler were stored improperly. Raw eggs were over bread, and raw shrimp was over shredded cheese.

Istanbul Café will be re-inspected.

[Editor’s Note: Istanbul was re-inspected and received a follow-up health score of 83/B.]

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