EDITOR’S NOTE: The News Herald publishes restaurant closures, health and safety violations on a monthly basis.


LYNN HAVEN — Sewage backing up through the floor drains and ill-kept fries led inspectors in February to temporarily halt operations for a Lynn Haven restaurant, according to health inspection reports.

It was the only restaurant reported to have been issued an emergency closure in the past month.

In February, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) issued an emergency closure for Popeye’s Chicken, 1501 Ohio Ave. Sanitation and safety specialists reported finding conditions that could contribute directly to a food-borne illness or injury at the time of their inspection. Popeye’s workers, however, corrected the issues in a matter of minutes and was allowed to reopen, state inspectors reported.

DBPR specifies the inspections are snapshots of a business at that time only. Popeye’s has an active state license and currently is open.

On Feb. 12, inspectors reported arriving to the Lynn Haven Popeye’s at 12:48 p.m. to find sewage and wastewater backing up through floor drains in the back of the restaurant. The drains were located under a triple sink near the ice machine, DBPR reported.

“This area is in the back area of restaurant near mop sink and ice machine,” inspectors reported.

Officials also reported the fries were being kept at 106 degrees, which is less than the recommended 135 degrees or above. A vacuum breaker also was missing at the mop sink faucet, officials reported.

Owners of Popeye’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Employees, who declined to be identified, said they had been in the process of fixing the issues when inspectors arrived, and that was the reason for the brevity of the closure.

At 1:01 p.m. the same day, Popeye’s was allowed to reopen and conduct business.

That was the first emergency closure issued to the business since it opened, DBPR records indicated.

The closure added to January’s four restaurant closures in the central Panhandle, which brings the total to five in 2018.