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.



Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.

Dr. Information

NewsFlash: Every restaurant has had bug issues at one point and they always are fighting them. Same with mice. Happens everywhere.



H*ll, in some societies they eat ‘em.

Numerous times, people contract a food borne illness at home due to poor hygiene and food prep and then falsely blame it on a restaurant at which they recently ate.

Remember how Mayor Lesch and a cadre marched down to Casa after the Salmonella outbreak to show their support?

Guess some people would prefer to see Norwalk turn into a bedroom community as quickly as possible.

Guess who gets to pay the taxes?

former local

I ate their for the first time in 25 years back in early January. I found the prices to be pretty high and the portions to be small. I was disappointed.


It seems to me that more and more people are judging others. I wonder if anything makes some people happy or if they live to criticize. I have ate at
Berry's many times and will continue to do so. If you think most restaurants are any different, you are wrong. The health department has been around many years, and if Berry's was so bad, they would have been shut down by now.

swiss family

OK... lets speak some truths about Uptown Norwalk. First all of these buildings are 100+ years old, and just like our fire station, were not designed to keep up with the demands of the likes of 2014 business needs.I would bet that almost every beautiful Uptown building has issues with their electrical equipment, as well as extremely high heating and cooling bills, because of their beautiful tall ceilings, and the grandure of their large showrooms. So why is it then that not one of them is in violation of being a fire hazzard???

A place like Berry's is a mainstay in our community, and just like every other ill equipped structure, they are actually not just making a living with their efforts, but are know outside of our town, when asked to strangers if they have heard of Norwalk , they will undoubtedly mention Berry's. I am curious though, exactly how the inspections by the health department work?I understand what they will say, that every business that handles and sells food is inspected regularly, But I can't help but notice that some businesses seem to not be inspected so regularly??I am glad that someone checks on our behalf, the possibility of having dented and possibly outdated cans at places like the dollar stores, and at Big Lots..But I am more concerned about the local deli's in all of the local grocery stores.I also can't help but notice that I barely remember seeing our local bowling alley's health report, or even our local major chain of pizza establishments listed on here as well???So I have to ask, if it is who you know and who you....... that determines how you are treated by the health department???

I also wonder as well, if someone might just be behind the crucifixion of Berry's? It seems that one person in particular, who is not even a merchant, is bullying anyone who happens to be near him.This bully who refurbished 2 old dilapidated Seminary street buildings, has bullied his way into blocking a perpetual easement, which establishes perpetual use for some Uptown stores to access the back of their buildings, even though it clearly states on his, and their deeds that this easement should never be compromised, which has not only angered the Main street merchants, but has disappointed these merchants as well that the city and the law director will not step in , and could potentially mean more empty Uptown establishments.Now if you at which Uptown business is next in line that he wants to control, Berry's is sadly his target. Yes, just like every other restaurant, they have dumpsters behind their business, and because of the foods and scraps that all restaurants have in those dumpsters, you will see flocks of birds, and feral cats going through their waste.. that is a fact.. and if this whiny refurbish er wants to cause trouble, as he does enjoy too much, he is going after every Uptown business , with little to no regard to the consequences of having more empty buildings in our midst.


I am pretty sure that they inspect more than just those they cherry pick to put in the paper. Have you ever called and asked to see ALL the reports? Or called to check on a certain one specifically? I do agree with the other posts. It is not that hard to keep a clean and fully functioning establishment. You know what is expected and what is needed to pass. If you have "top of the line" equipment it should be working. If not you need to call a repairman. Others have the same equipment and can hold a proper temperature. If you have a problem with birds and feral cats you need to hire an exterminator. I worked at a food establishment and we never had FERAL CATS in our trash dumpster. Sounds like excuses to me, and you are just helping to back those excuses.

swiss family

what would be the reason that they would not put all of the results of their inspections in the paper for everyone to see???wow..look at that just one paragraph for those with short to non existent attention spans!!you are welcome


Because just like everything else they like to pick and choose what they report.

swiss family

you might be right, but if you are, I can see a lot of really upset restaurant owners crying "foul" I mean , if they are on here tearing apart the reputation and standards of a restaurant like, Berry's, when in fact another place has just as many damaging violations that are not printed in the paper. I am sorry, but I do not agree with you opn this..


@swissfamily....I hate to really say this but when I see a post that has your name on it I TOTALLY skip over it I don't think I have ever scene a post from you that has not been at least 3 paragraphs long..say what you need to say in a paragraph....because I skipped over your crazy rant....this just maybe me...

swiss family

Lawyer... please do skip over my rants... they are meant to be for people who have wisdom and logic, with a brain and a mind that can comprehend, and deduce some big words and multiple paragraphs, you know, kind of how most everything is written.. Obviously you do not have the mental capacity to struggle your way through.. So again, Please do not read my posts.... thanks


Geez Swiss...I aint sayin your too smart for all us but you gots to remembers that your talkens to folks from Nowalks...they aint the brightest.

Fibber Mcgee

Wow.. Swiss, by the time someone reads my comment they will be cross eyed, by the way when you comment this long I don't read it, how about breaking it up into a couple of comments? Just wanted to say that I had the chicken the other day for dinner, it was very good, and the price was fair.

swiss family

Fibber.. you too, please skip my rants. It is obvious that you do not read, or if you do it is children s books, but even those have multiple paragraphs on some pages. I will understand why you do not read my posts, your attention span is nonexistent, and your ability to comprehend is very weak, if it is there at all..I will not try to "dumb it down" for your sake, because just like most other reading materials, they might be multi-paragraphed,and way above your mentality as well. please "see Jane run, run Jane , run!!!"

Your neighbor



How disgusting. This group never ceases to show their lack of class in the community. Everytime I see this name I hear another amazing story of classless behavior and attitude. Everytime they do somthing to hurt others it is never THEIR fault. Please close this place down and get some class into our downtown area businesses. Everyone who knows this group understands my disgust.

HS Sports Fan

We used to go to Berry's almost every Sunday for brunch and occasionally during the week. I feel the food has really went downhill in the last few years. There was always a gentleman with sort of an accent that was around the brunch and sometimes carved the meat. Since I have no longer seen him the brunch has been horrible. He must of had something to do with the food preparation. Is anyone familiar with this? I feel it is no better than the hog troff(Ryan's). So something has definitely changed. As far as Sugarcreek, I got very sick eating there sometime in the last year it was open. And their own downhill trend put them out of business. Berry's needs to wake up and clean up. And don't anyone blame the public because a poor ole tax paying business that serves worse food than it ever did closes. It a no brainer that the crowds will die off in these situations.


Agree with most of the posters here. Tim Hollinger is doing his job for us.


Having worked in the restaurant industry for many years I can say from experience that some restaurant's have bugs and others do not. It is all about how the management handles things. It's about procedures and making sure they are followed. Management needs to ascertain cleaning is done as it should be, that foods are the temp they should be, that the food you serve to paying customers is safe to eat...

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

Ewwwww! So there are still bugs, but less than there used to be?!? I quit eating there years ago (when the bugs must have been plentiful). I have no intention or interest in eating there any time soon.

Cliff Cannon

My family and I have always loved eating at " Berry's ". Of course,we shall continue to do so.

THE one thing, that sticks way out in this article, is newer stricter, more ramped up health dept. guidelines. Which, of course, can be a really good thing, as well as if your trying to get 48 people in a 100 plus year old building up to snuff, then perhaps, just as hard keeping it all up to snuff,can be frustrating, couldn't it ? Thankfully, this article explained both sides.

I for one am very grateful that Doug Berry does such a fine job in his efforts to bring us great food, in an amazingly well kept historic building, whose warm, comforting, ambience anchors are beloved downtown, for where would we be with out " Berry's " ?


1. Knowong from experience, it's not hard to pass a health inspection. It may be tedious, but not hard.

2. That being said, for all of you disgusted about the bugs, you really need to look into your food laws and educate yourselves on what's really in your food. There are allowable amounts of insects/insect pieces/insect eggs allowed in your food from the manufacturer as well as allowable amounts of chemicles and pesticides.

3. Just because a place passes a health inspection it doesn't necessarily mean its clean all of the time... far too often have I seen a restaurant clean up its act only because the health inspector was near. Training people to be clean and health code compliant all of the time and not just when the health guy was around was always the hardest part of the job.


I just wonder out of all the people complaining how many have ever bought something from a bake sale, or went in on a pot luck from work, or bought something from a farmers market. If you have ever bought anything from someplace like this, then you have no idea what conditions these things were cooked (or baked) in.

Tom Paine's picture
Tom Paine

Doug Berry does more good for this community than any of the nameless trolls attempting to debase his name here will ever do. I eat at Berry's often and have never had a bad experience. And yes, people… Berry's Restaurant IS a staple in Norwalk.

Unbelievable. Please look at the positive force that Berry's has been in our downtown for nearly seventy years before spewing hate speech toward a guy you don't even know.


*LIKE* I agree with you, I love berry's and understand that all restaurants have had violations in the past. All that matters is that he focuses on fixing the problems and preventing them for next time. But I am with you on how sickening it is to see all the HATERS of the community. What happened to people supporting each other and giving our small businesses some credit for making it through the bad economy and offering jobs to the locals. I am all for constructive criticism, but geeze people how about being a little nicer about it.


Remember the controversy a few yrs. ago when Mr. Berry petitioned to serve alcohol in the sidewalk café?

Many citizens and officials in town went apoplectic!

What if a small child should ride by on a bicycle and see someone enjoying a glass of wine?

Oh dear! Tsk, tsk.

With all the business closings, job losses and the brain drain of it's children, Norwalkians (based on many of these comments) are getting just what they are asking for and "Hooterville" will someday become just another isolated 'used-to-be' RR crossing.

Norwalk? Yea, you know, where the Norovirus originated? Oh, right.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : I really liked your idea to have the Mayor try to get as many people as possible into " Berry's " to show support ( ala former Mayor Lesch's " Casa Fiesta " support )

Here's hoping, not just because I like everything about " Berry's ". More importantly,because it is as much a part of downtown Norwalk as the courthouse and it is sickening to read of people kicking " Berry's " around like it is the french fry trailer at the fair


Re: "french fry trailer at the fair,"

Hey don't knock 'em. :)

I used to like those fresh ones that came hot in those thin paper cones and I'd put salt and vinegar on 'em.

Like to grill? Try these:

I make ‘em a couple times a month. I grill yr around.