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Customer finds fingernail in ice cream at Bay area buffet | News

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Customer finds fingernail in ice cream at Bay area buffet
News, Restaurants
Customer finds fingernail in ice cream at Bay area buffet

PINELLAS PARK, Fla.- What began as an ordinary meal for Dawn Harris and her family ended with a surprise during dessert. Dawn says she found something most unexpected in her ice cream.

"I was eating it and all of a sudden I heard a crunch in my mouth," said Harris, who immediately spit the hard object out of her mouth. Turns out, the object that went crunch was a fake acrylic fingernail.

Harris says the incident happened at the newly opened Southern Style Buffet on 66th Street North in Pinellas Park.

"It was disgusting because fingernails are dirty and you never know what's underneath somebody's fingernails," Harris said.

The manager was called over to the table, but he said there was nothing he could do. "He was just like, 'That's the risk you take when you eat at a buffet where people serve themselves,'" said a shocked Harris.

Dawn and her family filed a complaint against Southern Style Buffet in late April. A week later, a state inspector went in and documented 18 critical violations. Among the problems:

  • Food temperature violations
  • Improper thawing of frozen shrimp
  • Slime in the ice machine
  • No soap in the employee restroom, a repeat violation

Some customers arriving for lunch said the violations were unacceptable. "Where I work, I wash my hands as often as possible and I don't deal with food at all," said Kenneth Kindred. "I'm leaving."

The inspector also documented live flies in the kitchen and 50 rodent droppings inside the restaurant. We also informed customers about the fingernail found in Dawn Harris' ice cream.

"Wow. I don't even know what to say. That's disgusting," said Kindred, who turned around and walked to his car.

10 News stopped in hoping to speak with restaurant management about all the issues. We were greeted at the door by a man who identified himself as the manager. He asked us to step outside, where we were then asked to leave.

Before we left, 10 News requested a copy of the restaurant's state inspection report, something required by law for the restaurant to provide to any member of the public, but were told we could not see a copy.

The fact that Southern Style Buffet would not allow our camera into the kitchen was no surprise to Dawn and her family. "I'm a nurse so I know about infection control and that restaurant definitely lacks a lot of infection control," she said. "They don't seem to care."

Despite everything, she says the restaurant manager would not even consider providing her a refund of her pre-paid meal.

"I'm a little angry because of the callous attitude of the owner," said Harris. "It's the first visit to the restaurant and it's my last."

Outrageous Restaurant Red Alert reports:

Band Aid Soup: Customer served soup - with a band aid in it!

Terrible 10: 10 Tampa Bay restaurants with the WORST critical violations

Ceiling Roaches: McDonalds cited when roach falls from ceiling onto diner's food

Finger in salad: Pizza customer claims there was a fingertip in his salad

Baked Roaches: Roaches found baked into Pizza Supreme

More Restaurant Red Alert Reports:

Classic Homestyle Buffet, Tampa 1/11/12 

Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12 

Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12 

CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12 

China Express, Brandon 2/8/12

Daiquiri Deck, Maderia Beach 2/15/12 

Athenian Garden, Tyrone Area, St. Pete 2/22/12

Bob Evans (Ulmerton Road), Pho 97 (Pinellas Park), Kobe Japanese Steak House (New Tampa) 2/29/12 

China Jade, Carrollwood, 3/7/12 

Nicki's West 59th (Bradenton), Top's China Buffet (Brandon), 400 Beach (St. Petersburg) 3/14/12 

Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille (Ybor City) 3/21/12 

Sandy's Restaurant, Indian Rocks Beach 3/28/12


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