Berry's Restaurant owner discusses health reports

Restaurant inspections tough, yet vital part of food business
Scott Seitz2
Feb 16, 2014


The Huron County Public Health inspection program is 100 percent geared toward the safety of the residents.

"That's what the public expects from us," said Tim Hollinger, health commissioner.

The inspection program, particularly the restaurant division, has garnered a bit of attention recently.

The health reports, which are published in the Reflector, leave no stone unturned, as inspectors visit a variety of food establishments ranging from traditional restaurants to school cafeterias.

Some restaurant owners have called the inspection program "more aggressive," especially in the past couple years.

Doug Berry, co-owner of Berry's Restaurant, talked about how his business is trying to adapt.

"It is quite aggressive," Berry said. "But, I know the goal is to cut down on illnesses."

Berry's has been cited for a number of inspection violations in recent months. The violations have ranged from shelving units to food temperatures to insects.

"Is it good for the public? Yes," Berry said about the inspections.

But, that doesn't make it any easier on the business.

It can be expensive to comply.

Berry said the biggest challenge he faces is the building itself, which was built in 1864.

"We've torn things down, re-painted, ordered new shelving, but does anybody know it?" he said. "Sometimes I feel, when we get those things done, we just have to move to the next thing on the list. We've made the building do things it wasn't designed to do. It is special."

Keeping food at the proper temperatures can also be challenging.

"It's frustrating and difficult when you buy the best equipment and it still doesn't hold the temperature you need it to hold," Berry said.

Berry's employs 48 people, full and part time.

Training is a key component of running a successful and violation-free business.

"We have a lot of training meetings," Berry said. "We'll meet 1-to-1 or 2-to-2, but sometimes..."

Berry knows the inspectors are just doing their job.

"They are good people, who are nice and well-trained," he said.

But, his customers will ask him about the violations they read in the paper.

"They'll say, 'Doug, what does this mean?" he said.

Battling insects can be a problem at many restaurants.

"Really, there are two issues with insects," Berry said.

"First, there is a sewer outside the back door in the parking lot where we have to open the sewer cover and use bug bombs inside the sewer," he said.

Inside, Central Exterminating treats any bug problem.

Berry uses sticky pads to catch bugs.

It's tough to know where to concentrate the pads or other anti-bug devices.

"We'll put out a food or a spray that the bugs can take back to their mate and that kills whatever is left," he said.

Berry said the bugs are under control better than they've ever been.

Eric Cherry, director of environmental health, said sanitarians try to work with businesses.

Huron County Public Health currently is working toward being accredited.

Part of this process includes meeting standards.

"We did ramp up the program to meet standards," Cherry said.

Hollinger added that ramping up of the inspection program is taking it to, for starters, an entry-level position.

"That is entry level, not gold level," Hollinger said.

On an inspection, if a violation is noted, a "canned" statement is produced for the health report.

"We can add to it or modify it," Cherry said.

"The reports are really a snapshot in time," he added.

Hollinger said it would take an awful lot to close a restaurant due to violations.

Restaurants can be issued three "failure to control" violations before they have to have a sit-down meeting with Cherry and Hollinger to address issues.

"We are more than willing to work with them," Hollinger said.

"Some of this stuff is very preventable," Cherry said.



As it should be aggressive, you are dealing with peoples health. If there where bugs everywhere in the building I would want to know if I thought about eating there. You wouldn't want to eat there if it was like that place in the "Waiting" movie.


Some other countries have their health department ratings posted right at the entrance so you know what kind of conditions your going into


Good idea. In North Carolina or Florida (or both) they post a percentage and letter grade very conspicuously.


The only bugs I worry about at Berry' s is the one named Doug.


Now that is funny !


If the health department was not tough, I would not eat out at all.


If the health department was not tough, I would not eat out at all.

David Deerest.

"It's frustrating and difficult when you buy the best equipment and it still doesn't hold the temperature you need it to hold," Berry said.
Then, Mr. Berry, you call the company from which the product was purchased and have them come FIX IT before...ummmm...before it hits the paper, I guess. I think that's the main concern here...not people's health and the standards from which you should be using to run a restaurant. You have to stay pro-active and not let it become a problem. Raise your standards, Mr. Berry.


Let's hear a little more about your bugs.


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Mr. Berry undoubtedly does his best, but errors are always possible.

H*ll, if the Health Dept. inspected most people's kitchens, they'd be condemned.


Yeah, and you liked SugarCreek restaurant as well.


Re: "SugarCreek restaurant,"

Yes I did. Ate there numerous times. Not ill once.

Moot point now.

So you'd prefer another business closing?


Liked Sugarcreek!! Well I might suggest Casa Fiesta with a side of Salmonella!


Re: "Liked (snip)"

Like I wrote: Moot point.

Tasteless Mex at CF. I make better at home.


Yes it is a moot point. And once Berry's is gone because no one will trust eating there anymore because he makes excuses instead of fixing the problems, your point about him doing his best will be moot too.


Re: "Yes (snip)"

An inane comment.

Good to see that you're so enthusiastic about the potentiality of another tax paying, job producing entity in Norwalk closing.

So do you wipe down your kitchen counters with a bleach solution after working with raw chicken?


They shouldn't worry people still go to Case Fiesta and people got Salmonella from there. I just don't want to hear somebody that runs a restaurant complaining about the Health Department being to aggressive.


While being at the recruiting station which adjoined with sugar creek it was the most disgusting thing to see the amount of they threw out the grease that was poured out was of the utmost disgusting and disturbing thing I've ever scene and the water that was coming through the was does it surprise me Contango liked it......uummmmm you a reservation at berrys....or ummm nope the line won't be that long....


Re: "surprise me,"

Usually ate their Cobb salad with a side order of fries and an iced tea. And like I said: Never got ill once.

H*ll, if the avg. American toured a slaughterhouse, they'd probably find it difficult to ever eat meat again.

What this country perceives as disgusting would be considered delicacies in third world countries.

A nation of spoiled whiners.

What is Norwalk known for worldwide? Norovirus.

There's a legacy.


True,I have been around the business.

Kottage Kat

He should run for Mayor.
Excuses. Excuses. Excuses


Re: "He (snip)"

You mean that Mr. Berry is better at making "excuses" than the current occupant of the office? :)

So you'd prefer another business closing?


what a complete crock!! can someone make anymore excuses about how things arent his fault?? how about your nasty your restaurant is obviously nasty! funny i have a high quality fridge and my food stays at correct temp and if it didnt i would have it immediately serviced if that didnt fix the problem i would buy a new fridge! furthermore, saying you have bugs in your house because a sewer drain is nearby..really?? when bugs are crawlign in plain daylight on walls whilst people are preparing food thats because you arent a clean establishment!!!! You are nasty! the absolute only reason anyone is defending this hot mess is "berrys is a staple" well youre right MR. Berry your restaurant looks and represents a heroin town perfectly.....nasty, unclean, full of excuses, gonna get a slap on the wrist, and keep doing what your doing!


From the article: "we have to open the sewer cover and use bug bombs inside the sewer,"

Does the Norwalk Sewer Dept. know this? Is this approved? WTF

Also: "Berry said the bugs are under control better than they've ever been."

That alone makes me glad I haven't gone in there in over 10 years.


Aside: After watching "Kitchen Nightmares," gotta wonder how the MSB remained open afterwards?


I watched the show you'd have to be a fool to go there after watching it.


Funny how other restaurants buy the "best equipment" and have no trouble keeping their food at the correct temperatures.