After receiving a complaint about cockroaches crawling on the buffet at Golden Corral, the St. Clair County Health Department found “hundreds of fruit flies” inside the Shiloh location during a recent inspection.
A health inspector saw the tiny pests in the kitchen on July 2, according to St. Clair County Health Department documents obtained by the BND through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The manager on duty at the restaurant called pest control the same day. The restaurant, which is located in the Green Mount Crossing shopping center in Shiloh, had received a complaint from a Swansea mother of two. Her post was shared 1,900 times on Facebook.
“Went out (to) dinner last night with some family & we all ended up getting our checks refunded because we (saw) cockroaches on the buffet bar,” Kathleen Montgomery wrote in a social media post July 1 after visiting the Golden Corral for dinner.
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Montgomery said three cockroaches were crawling on the buffet near the steak during her visit.
“We are seriously so disgusted, we all left immediately after being refunded,” Montgomery wrote. “I think everyone should know about this before people get sick eating there.”
More than 300 people responded to Montgomery's post sharing their experiences at the restaurant and urging Montgomery to call the health department. The health department received Montgomery's complaint the day after her family reported seeing bugs on the buffet.
The health inspector, who visited the restaurant July 2, did not see immediate signs of cockroaches, but had the manager on duty call pest control to schedule an appointment. That inspector also described the kitchen as filthy.
Robert Carter, the Shiloh restaurant’s general manager, said the restaurant worked “hand-in-hand” with pest control and the health department to fix the problem.
“The issue noted in an inspection report for our restaurant at 3360 Green Mount Crossing in Shiloh, IL, was an isolated incident that has since been resolved,” RFR Inc., a Golden Corral Franchise wrote in a statement Tuesday. “The restaurant was treated one day after the inspection. The safety and well-being of our guests is our first priority.”
The health department is expected to recheck the restaurant Wednesday, according to the inspection report.
Fruit flies don’t bite, but they do carry bacteria, viruses and diseases. The population of fruit flies in the kitchen was listed a critical violation in the July 2 report.
Violations listed as critical, such as the fruit flies, can lead to foodborne illnesses if they are not immediately addressed. More than a dozen other violations were noted in the report, none of which are considered critical violations.
They include unlabeled and uncovered food in a walk-in cooler, as well as reminders to clean food contact areas, hand-washing sinks and dishwashing machines.
Montgomery said she doesn’t plan to return to the Golden Corral in Shiloh in the future.