Como’s facing revocation of food license for second time in a year

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 13, 2017

 Como’s Restaurant, on the verge of losing its food service license, will fight the license’s revocation before the Oakland County Food Service Appeal Board Sept. 20.

Como’s Restaurant, on the verge of losing its food service license, will fight the license’s revocation before the Oakland County Food Service Appeal Board Sept. 20.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

FERNDALE — Como’s Restaurant is on the verge of losing its food service license after the Oakland County Health Division ordered a revocation for health code violations.

The agency informed Como’s in a letter dated Aug. 22 that the agency intended to revoke the restaurant’s license for “failing to comply with the provisions of the Michigan Food Law,” according to Oakland County documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Como’s already has filed an appeal and will fight the revocation at an Oakland County Food Service Appeal Board meeting Sept. 20.

According to the documents, Como’s, 22812 Woodward Ave., had multiple violations over the spring and summer, with violations reported on March 31, May 31 and July 27.

Violations reported on March 31 include several spoiled heads of lettuce found, raw ground beef stored over cooked ground beef, and improper date marking for some products.

On May 31, violations included a soiled pop nozzle observed on the soda fountains station and a soiled floor drain under the cook line steam table, and on July 27, violations included a heavy unopened whipped cream at the cook line cooler that was past the manufacturer’s expiration date, as well as a half-gallon of heavy whipping cream found past the facility use date still in use at the cook line cooler, and an observation of a chemical container stored next to the bar utensils at the main bar.

Como’s license was revoked last September when health code violations became too much of a problem for the county. That stretch of violations was reported from August 2013 to September 2016.

“In recent years, their inspection reports indicated that there were violations that were repeatedly noted, and we tried to educate them,” Health Division Administrator Tony Drautz said. “We want businesses to succeed, obviously, and we work with businesses.

We’re not there to close you down, necessarily. That’s not really how we approach things. We want to educate and just make sure that you’re going to take what you (learn) so that you don’t impact the public’s health, that you’re going to serve safe food in accordance with the food code and the food law.”

After the revocation last year, Como’s license was reinstated after the restaurant made corrections and became in compliance with the law.

“They’ve been open and has since not been able to maintain compliance that was required for them to do,” Drautz said. “And so we’re in another revocation. So we’ve had meetings with them, we tried to educate them — you know, get their staff to adhere to the food code and the food law — and it just has escalated once again to another revocation of the license.”

Manager of Como’s George Grego said the restaurant is working diligently every day to make the business stay spotless, and Como’s will be hiring a full-time sanitarian specialist to show it is committed to keeping Como’s clean and to convince the board not to revoke its license.

“Sanitarians are going to be here on a consistent basis,” he said. “We’re retraining staff to make sure that everybody that works here is ServSafe certified, which about 75 percent of the people are already. What happens is we get turnover, we don’t have enough time to train people, and the new people are the ones that are making minor mistakes, but we strive to be 100 percent compliant.”

“It’s really disheartening because everybody that works here, we really, really try,” he said.

Drautz said the county will go before the appeals board and present the violations and the reports they’ve written, while Como’s will make its case to the board. Como’s is allowed to remain open in the time before the appeals meetings, but if the revocation is upheld, it must be closed immediately.

“The board will decide what the restrictions are for them to reopen again, and what they need to do to maintain compliance with the law and be able to reopen again,” he said.

“They’re either going to uphold the revocation issued by the Health Division or they’re going to overturn it,” he continued. “Typically, if they still have violations outstanding, they’re going to want those corrected before they allow them to reopen. At that point, the ball’s in the court of Como’s. You know — how quick is it that you can get the violations turned around and be in compliance, and then we go out there and we would reinspect them, and if they’re in compliance and meet all the requirements of the board’s resolution, then they can reopen.”