Inspections: Restaurants in Cocoa, Titusville receive emergency closure orders

Lyn Dowling


That’s “closed,” as in an emergency order applied to the Village Biergarten Restaurant (Von Stephan’s Village Biergarten, 415 Delannoy Ave., Cocoa) on Nov. 9, after an inspector from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants found 16 violations of state requirements, including one related to vermin.

The restaurant was marked for an administrative complaint Oct. 6.

This time, “Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Observed approximately 15 droppings on top (of) dish machine” was one of six high-priority infractions marked by the inspector, the others included a stop-sale issued for the food found to have had time and temperature control issues and the dish machine chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength.

The inspector returned the following day to mark 13 violations, only four of which were of high priority. A follow-up inspection is required.

Village Biergarten wasn’t the only Brevard restaurant to have been shuttered by state inspectors from Oct 23 to Nov. 10. 

On Oct. 27, Sonic Drive-In, 650 Cheney Highway, Titusville, had 15 violations, 14 of them basic and a single, intermediate, but, “Ice buildup in reach-in freezer and/or walk-in freezer” and “Non-food contact surface soiled with grease, food debris, dirt, slime or dust” were repeat, basic infringements.

The restaurant also was marked for, “A minimum of one bathroom facility is not available for public use. Sign posted on door that restroom closed. Ladies’ restroom is out of order and full of excess storage. Men's restroom toilet does not flush with handle, operator has a toilet brush being used to lift the flap to refill, until manager returns with new part.”

Inspectors returned later the same day and noted no problems with the restrooms, though Sonic had 13 violations. It was permitted to reopen, with time extended for some infractions.

Restaurant inspections reveal serious violations that pose risks of foodborne illnesses.

Inspectors from DBPR found 14 local food sellers with nary a violation during that time period, and they were:

  • Act Catering, 607 Florida Ave., Cocoa
  • Moo’s Soft Serve, 930 N. State Road A1A, Indialantic
  • Hungry Hippie food truck
  • Mama’s Blazin’ Kitchen food truck
  • Sizzlin’ Smoke food truck
  • JR Rib Shack food truck
  • Yo’ Cuzzn-N-Nem Bar-B-Q food truck
  • TNT BBQ food truck
  • Philibert Kitchen food truck
  • Dunkin Donuts, 3710 Ss Fiske Blvd., Rockledge; and 1 Air Terminal Parkway, Melbourne
  • Paradise Grill, 106 Main St., Titusville
  • RPC Foods and Reel Pit Bar B Que, 3650 Bobbi Lane Unit 109, Titusville.

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Eight restaurants received administrative complaints during the time period, including Hemingway’s Tavern, 1800 W. Hibiscus Blvd., Melbourne, which was marked for 14 violations Nov. 8. 

Those violations included the complaint-earning, “Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Six droppings located on a chemical lid in dish area, five droppings located on top of the dish machine, one on the floor under dish machine.” 

Its other high-priority breach was, “Pesticide-emitting strip present in food prep area.”

An inspector returned the following day and noted, “From follow-up inspection (Nov. 9, 2021): Found two droppings, one under the front cook line, one under the bags/boxes of soda by main walk-in cooler,” for which another administrative complaint was issued.

The following day, the restaurant was found to have no evidence of rodents and only seven violations.

The Shack, 4845 Dixie Highway N.E., Palm Bay, was found to have had indications of vermin too, the inspector having recommended an administrative complaint Nov. 5 after having found, “Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Four under dish pit, eight under dry storage.”

Its other high-priority violations time and temperature problems for food and food marked with a "date that exceeds seven days after opening/preparation (potato salad and cheese rice).”

The Shack was found in compliance Nov. 8 with only two violations.

Double-Tapp Grill, 494 S. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne, was found with a single, intermediate violation Nov. 9: “Manager or person in charge lacking proof of food manager certification and no other certified food service manager employed at this location,” for which it was issued a complaint. An extension was given and a follow-up is required.

Breakfast Station 13, 4100 N. Wickham Road, had a similar violation as well as, “Proof of required state approved employee training not available for some employees” Nov. 8, and a follow-up inspection is required.

Taj Modern Indian Cuisine, 2290 Town Center Ave., the Avenue Viera, was marked for 19 infractions Oct. 29, including three of high priority:

  • “Employee dried hands on clothes/apron/soiled towel after washing,” for which it received a complaint.
  • “Raw animal food stored over or with ready-to-eat food in a freezer, not all products commercially packaged,” for which it received a second complaint. 
  • “Single-service containers not constructed with the required characteristics. Reusing one- gallon milk jugs with hollow handles for cream.”

It also was hit with, “Certified food manager or person in charge failed to notify the division of employee diagnosed with Norovirus, Hepatitis A, Shigella spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Typhoid fever (caused by Salmonella Typhi) or Salmonella (nontyphoidal),” an intermediate violation.

The restaurant was found in compliance Nov. 8.

On Oct. 28, The Old Fish House, 5185 U.S.1, Grant, was found to have a single high-priority violation, for which it was issued the complaint, “Time/temperature control for safety: food cold-held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit,” on four foods. The stop-sale issued thereafter resulted in a second violation. A follow-up inspection is required.

Villa Palma at the Village, 11 Riverside Drive, was found to have had 13 violations Oct. 27, six of them high-priority. They included "food not cooled from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours,” for which a complaint was recommended; “raw animal food stored over/not properly separated from ready-to-eat food,” a repeat violation for which a second complaint was recommended; and “sanitizer not used in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.”

Villa Palma was found in compliance with only six violations Oct. 29.

Crystal Buffet, 3160 W. New Haven Ave., Melbourne, was marked for 18 infractions Oct.26. Five were of high priority and of those, “Raw animal food stored over or with ready-to-eat food in a freezer” resulted in the complaint. Its other high-priority violations included “establishment using a sanitizer solution that does not meet requirements; ” and “nonexempt fish offered raw or undercooked has not undergone proper parasite destruction.”

Brevard’s biggest single violator in the time period, numbers-wise, was Apollo Diner, 201 W. Hibiscus Blvd., Melbourne, with 31 infractions. It was followed by:

  • Jake’s Crab Shack, 3830 A1A S., Melbourne Beach, 29 violations
  • Squid Lips, 2200 S. Orlando Ave., Cocoa Beach; and Kelsey’s Pizza, 6811 U.S. 1, Cocoa, 24
  • El Sabor de Mi Pueblo, 1046 Dixon Blvd., Cocoa, 21
  • Red Ginger, 1700 W. New Haven Ave., Melbourne, 20
  • Cheers, 2301 S.R. 524, Cocoa; Nosh, 3800 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach; Taj; Shore Lanes 2/City Limits Lounge, 4851 Dairy Road, Melbourne; Metro Diner, 7954 Wickham Road, Melbourne, 19 each.

As was shown at Double Tapp and Breakfast Station, not every violation of state laws includes the likes of vermin, food left out too long or hygiene issues; some matters are technical. 

Other violations are not considered of high priority but can be pretty interesting too. Find it all at

Regardless, if you notice abuses of state standards, report them and DBPR will send inspectors. Call 1-850-487-1395.

What restaurant inspection terms mean

What does all that terminology in state restaurant inspections mean?

Basic violations are those considered against best practices.

A warning is issued after an inspector documents violations that must be corrected by a certain date or within a specified number of days from receipt of the inspection report.

An intermediate violation is one which, if not addressed, could lead to factors that contribute to foodborne illness or injury.

An administrative complaint is a form of legal action taken by the division. Insufficient compliance after a warning, a pattern of repeat violations or existence of serious conditions that warrant immediate action may result in the division initiating an administrative complaint against the establishment. Says the division website, “Correcting the violations is important, but penalties may still result from violations corrected after the warning time was over.”

An emergency order — when a restaurant is closed by the inspector — is based on an immediate threat to the public. Here, the Division of Hotels and Restaurants director has determined that the establishment must stop doing business and any division license is suspended to protect health, safety or welfare of the public. 

Twenty-four-hour call-back inspections are performed after emergency closures or suspensions of licenses and an establishment may reopen only after inspection shows that all high-priority violations that caused the suspension are corrected.

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