Moldy cheese. Dead roaches. Live roaches.
You'd expect those highlights on a list of more than 1,000 possible violations restaurants face during regular sanitation and safety inspections by the state.
But dull can opener blades and misplaced purses can flaw an otherwise pristine report, which is why area restaurant owners marvel at the five Collier County food vendors and 15 Lee County establishments that have recently earned perfect scores from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.
Throughout the state, 197 have earned perfect inspection reports since November when the department began featuring food vendors with perfect scores for the week on its website, myfloridalicense.com.
It's a tough list to make.
"I don't think they're allowed to give out a perfect," said Jerome Tocio, owner of Sunburst Cafe on Pine Ridge Road. "They have to find fault for something. They'll look and look and look for hours. They'll write you up if one of the employees left a pocketbook out."
The department wants to showcase those establishments that have achieved the nearly impossible.
But it is possible, said Sandi Poreda, spokeswoman for the state department, which visits each food vendor in the state two to three times a year. Not all local vendors have been visited since the department started posting perfect scores in November.
"All the violations, non critical and critical, are listed on our website. Restaurants are given that information and can check it ahead of time," she said.
Many of the food vendors the state inspects are not full-service restaurants, but small food carts or shops without seating. The official definition according to the department defines a public food service establishment as any place where "food is prepared, served, or sold for immediate consumption on or in the vicinity of the premises." That includes take out and delivery.
The Naples Smokehouse smokes and sells meat to area restaurants. As a small operation, it's not difficult to keep every corner of the facility clean and up to standards, which is why co-owner Kathie Macdonald wasn't surprised when the business earned a perfect score for its Nov. 3 inspection.
"My husband is a fanatic about cleaning up after himself," she said.
This week, The Snackery at Sanctuary Golf Club on Sanibel Island was the only establishment among 74 Lee County vendors inspected to earn top honors. In Collier County, 24 establishments were inspected for this week's ratings, but none earned a perfect rating.
"It's pretty impressive," said Sanctuary manager Jennifer Jolly, who said in her nine years in the business, she has not worked for a club that earned a perfect rating.
Violations fall into two categories: critical and non-critical. The big ones usually deal with food bourne illness. The smaller ones can range from that misplaced pocketbook to improper storage of the ice cube scoop — it can't touch the ice.
"You're supposed to wear gloves all the time and if you have touched a piece of fish, you have to change your gloves. But you have to wash your hands before you change your gloves," said Tony Ridgway, owner of Ridgway Bar & Grill on Third Street South. "It's almost self-defeating. They've written so it almost can't be accomplished."
Bartenders aren't supposed to handle the lemons and limes they hook on the rim of your glass. You need tongs for that. And table tops should be washed every other time you change a table cloth.
Those are some of the tips Ken Knief has picked up while managing Angelina's Ristorante in Bonita Springs and Agave Southwestern Grill in Naples.
"Cocktail stirrers supposed to be individually wrapped," Knief said. "From a logistics point of view, that's somewhat annoying and difficult."
Inspectors show up at random, meaning workers must keep their facilities in good condition at all times.
"It is nerve-wracking because you have to be always on your toes," Tocio said. "We wear gloves and hats we do everything that we're supposed but you're always just wondering."
Plus every inspector is different. "They're looking at different things," said Lisa Boet, executive chef at Bamboo Cafe on 12th Avenue South. "I think it's a question of semantics. I think 'violation' is probably an incorrect term to use because it sounds like you're doing something very wrong. It's not that it's endangering the public health...There are minor things that can occur."
But every owner acknowledged health inspections are important.
"Our inspector wants us to be successful," Ridgway said. "Clean and neat and safe."
For the weekly list of vendors with perfect sanitation and safety inspections visit www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/HR/inspections/RestaurantswithNoViolations.html
Lee and Collier food vendors with perfect inspections since Nov. 1.
Marriot Lobby Bar, 400 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island - Last Inspected Nov. 9
Naples Smokehouse, 3951 Arnold Ave. No. 2, East Naples - Last Inspected Nov. 3
Ritz Carlton Beach Pavilion, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd., North Naples - Last Inspected Nov. 9
Ritz Carlton Gourmet Shop, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, North Naples - Last Inspected Nov. 9
Subway, 1870 U.S. 41 N., Naples - Last Inspected Dec. 13
Hampton Inn, 27900 Crown Lake Blvd., Bonita Springs - Last Inspected Nov. 2
K&T Cantina, 11902 Bonita Beach Rd. Stall 178, Bonita Springs - Last Inspected Nov. 4
Wildcat Run Country Club Snack Bar, 20300 Country Club Dr., Estero - Last Inspected Nov. 3
Ana Harsh, 1501 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers - Last Inspected Oct. 29
Chillers of Fort Myers Beach, 1190 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach - Last Inspected Nov. 8
Oasis at Vasari, 11216 Via De Vasari Dr., Bonita Springs - Last Inspected Nov. 10
Vasari Golf & CC Tavarna, 11250 Via Del Vasari Dr., Bonita Springs - Last Inspected Nov. 10
What’s up Dog’s, 6900 Daniel’s Pkwy. No. 37, Fort Myers - Last Inspected Nov. 1
Bay House, 4600 W Bay Blvd., Estero - Last Inspected Nov. 18
Courney’s Tiki Bar, 1231 Middle Gulf Dr., Sanibel - Last Inspected Dec. 7
Flotilla Foods & Sundries, 155 Egret St., Fort Myers - Last Inspected Dec. 6
Lee Civic Center Concession No. 2, 11831 Bayshore Rd., North Fort Myers - Last Inspected Dec. 17
Lowes Hot Dogs, 1113 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers - Last Inspected Dec. 13
Oasis 2 Restaurant, 1700 Monroe St., Fort Myers - Last Inspected Dec. 15
The Snackery, 2801 Wolfert Rd., Sanibel Island - Last Inspected Dec. 20
Source: The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation