Rosie’s Diner Inspections Find Critical Violation, Repeat Observation

Thick, fluffy waffles, juicy, stacked burgers and crispy mozzarella sticks are among the mouthwatering meals on the menu at Rosie’s Diner in the Tri-Towers Rotunda, attracting college student crowds even in the early morning hours. For those who aren’t wandering the campus at 1 a.m., a cheesy calzone is only a phone call away through Rosie’s delivery services.  Although the 24-hour operation appeals in convenience to its campus customers, the quality of the service remains paramount.

According to the latest standard inspection report on Sept. 30, an inside look at Rosie’s Diner revealed critical violations and a repeat observation in the kitchen.

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Direct Connection between Sewage and Ice Machine Drain

In a critical violation cited as Backflow Prevention, the report “observed a direct connection between the sewage system and a drain originating from equipment in which food (ice machine) are placed.” The report stated the “drainage line from the ice machine was not provided with a proper air gap at the time of inspection.”

Timothy Wright, assistant director of university dining services who oversees Rosie’s operations in conjunction with its chefs and managers, said the requirements have been updated since the ice machine was originally installed.

“There needs to be an air gap of two inches between the floor drain and the ice machine, I think, and the ice machine drain could have been into the floor or didn’t provide the amount of gap that is necessary now,” Wright said. “When the ice machine was put in place, the health department was contacted and it was accepted at that time.”

Rosie’s Diner Manager Mark Lewis, who has managed Rosie’s for five years, said the Backflow Prevention violation is a very simple fix that sounds more technical than it is.

“Nothing can happen,” he said. “In this particular area with that piece of equipment, the air gap may not be the right size. Not to get too technical, but we’re on a closed water loop, which comes from a place where the air gap is in place. Once it reaches our building, if you’re asking what could happen if a drain backed up bad enough, it’s physically impossible, but it’s a code that we’re going to fix.”

Chief Sanitarian Justin Smith of the Kent Health Department, who conducts Standard Inspections of Rosie’s Diner, said Foods Facility Inspections are conducted one to four times per year, depending on the complexity of the menu. Smith said that on any given day, a food facility could have fewer or more violations than noted in the report, but critical violations are classified as more severe than non-critical violations.

“Violations of the Ohio’s Food Safety Regulations, which, if left uncorrected, are more likely than other violations to directly contribute to food contamination or illness,” Smith said. “Such problems can create environments that cause germs to grow and thrive, which puts the consumer at risk for food-borne illness.”

Wright said Rosie’s is actively working to correct the Backflow Prevention violation before Smith’s next visit.

“He won’t come back until next year,” Wright said. “We explained to him that we’re going to get a local plumbing company involved and help us fix the air gap, so he said he’s satisfied with that.”

Click Rosie’s Diner Inspections 2011-2014 to view standard inspection reports from 2011 to present.

Dirt Build-up a Repeat Observation

The latest inspection report also “observed a build-up of dirt and debris in floor drains (under food preparation sink in back room and floor drain behind the front service line) at the time of inspection.”

The Corrective Action listed on the report states: “The physical facilities shall be cleaned as often as necessary to keep them clean, and cleaning shall be done during periods when the least amount of food is exposed. Clean floor drains daily to prevent the accumulation of debris.”

Wright said student workers at Rosie’s must go through a training course and work under a cut-point-system that allows for three strikes and counseling between strikes.

Monitoring the student workers’ practices in the kitchen assures for a solid system, said Lewis.

“We’ve instituted a lot of cleaning checklists such as half-hour, hour, daily and weekly checklists that our student managers are responsible for following through on, and overall cleanliness that is pretty solid right now,” he said.

Rosie’s Reps Respond to Violations

Wright began overseeing Rosie’s in August 2014. Since his time at the diner, he said he has noticed many developments.

“I’ve seen the level of cleanliness improve in Rosie’s just from having been here before, and now I’ve seen a lot of improvement in what they’re doing,” Wright said. “As you walk through the unit, you can see for yourself the layout of the market and how well-organized and taken care of the areas are.”

Even in the kitchen and line area, Wright and Lewis said workers have been stepping up to make it a more appealing environment for the students.

As one of the only 24-hour operations on a college campus in the country, Lewis said Rosie’s works to clean without interfering with customer service.

“We’re proud of the place,” he said. “I think the workers do a fantastic job. We don’t stop. Cleaning it and keeping it up to speed is really a 24-hour task.”

Kent State University Dining Services
Rosie’s Diner includes a grocery market, dining tables and an open grill for Kent State University students. Photo Courtesy of Kent State University Dining Services. Used with Permission.