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New restaurant facing trouble

CLEANING UP: Ricky’s Fish, Chicken and Gyros Owner Taregh “Ricky” Zemour, on right, works on the restaurant days before opening earlier this month. Zemour said the restaurant is still getting everything in order.

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

Ricky’s Fish, Chicken and Gyros – the restaurant that opened less than two weeks ago in the former Long John Silver’s establishment – may be facing repercussions following several inspections from the Miami County Health Department.

On May 8, Miami County Environmental Health Specialist Lisa Ford received a call from Miami County Dispatch regarding food on the back of a pickup truck near Ricky’s.

Ford conducted an investigation that day and closed the restaurant for one day in result.

“We are not on the same page yet, but we will be,” Ricky’s Owner Taregh “Ricky” Zemour said. “We are working on fixing everything for them.”

On May 8, Ford observed the following violations:

n Raw shrimp, chicken and fish stored in the back of a personal pickup truck.

n Gyro meat stored at 60 degrees instead of at 41 degrees or below.

n Dry storage items like gyro shells, flour and corn meal on the floor.

n Cross contamination of corn meal and flour on wet, soiled floor.

n Hot sauce stored next to open paint.

n A tong and wadded up piece of paper in food items on prep table.

n Frozen foods such as fries, onion rings and peppers on the counter becoming soggy instead of being kept frozen.

n Uncovered food in both the refrigerator, freezer and dry-food storage units.

On May 9, Ford recorded again that raw shrimp, chicken and fish was stored in sunlight in the back of a personal pickup truck.

The owner also had no proof of how food shipped to Kokomo was bought to the Peru location, according to Ford.  

During each of the visits, Ford also reported the facility didn’t have the proper devices to measure the temperatures of the foods, according to the state standards.

She recorded all other violations were corrected, and Ricky’s reopened on May 9.

Ford conducted her third health inspection on May 14.

In the first three visits, there has been a verbal warning, a notification to the manager, and, most recently, a notification to a health officer.

Sharon Pattee from the Indiana State Department Health Food Protection Program assisted Ford with the inspection on May 14.

Because there were health violations discovered, Ford will conduct a follow-up in one to four weeks.

If there are still violations discovered, Ford may initiate a fining process.

If more violations are discovered again following that visit, then Ford said the health department would have the authority to shut down the business permanently.

But those are “ifs”, and Ricky’s is currently open for business.

“It’s really nothing,” Zemour said. “They came and gave me instructions and then left. I’ve been dealing with the health department all my life.”  

Zemour also owns Fish, Chicken and Gyros establishments in Chicago, Indianapolis and Kokomo.

Food safety measures are important – especially when dealing with raw fish and meat – because “salmonella is possible” when food isn’t stored or cooked properly, according to Ford.

Since that would harm his business, Zemour said that would simply be illogical.

“We care about our customers more than anything else, we don’t want them to get sick,” he said.