The Greenhouse Tavern confirms it is closing Saturday night

Twelve critical and 13 non-critical violations were reported on the December 2019 Cleveland Department of Public Health report.

The Greenhouse Tavern dinged for 12 critical Cleveland health department violations before it closes

UPDATE: Anyone with a valid Greenhouse Tavern gift card and proof of purchase can redeem 50% of its value at the Alexander Pierce Restaurant in Akron until March 15.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Greenhouse Tavern has confirmed it is closing Saturday night after posting a notice on their front door. 19 News still does not know exactly why The Greenhouse Tavern is closing.

Last night 19 News learned the restaurant has been dealing with several big-time health department violations. It had 12 critical and 13 non-critical violations on the last report done by the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

19 News reached out to Chef-Owner Jonathan Sawyer for comment, but we have yet to hear back from him.

The final inspection occurred on Dec. 5, 2019 at the East Fourth Street business.

A manager at the establishment said Chef-Owner Jonathan Sawyer, who is a James Beard Award recipient, stopped by the restaurant Thursday and said Valentine’s Day will be the last day.

However, a Facebook post said the final day of service will be Feb. 16. (As of Feb. 7, it appears the Facebook page for the restaurant no longer exists.)

Critical violations

Of the 12 critical citations, three were about shellstock.

According to the Cleveland Department of Public Health:

  • Shellstock tags were improperly removed from a container and there were no tags with some of the mussels in the walk-in refrigerator.
  • The date the last shellstock was sold or served was not recorded on a label.
  • There were no shellfish tags for the end of November or at the beginning of December. The shellfish that had tags were not kept in chronological order.

Read-to-eat food that is temperature-controlled for safety was not properly discarded when required. The health department said these items were also not labeled or dated properly. This was corrected during the inspection, according to the report.

In the inspection, the restaurant was dinged for unclean utensils and unclean surfaces that food touches. This was also corrected during the inspection.

The inspector said in the report employees were improperly washing their hands and arms.

“Talked with a food employee and he said that he used a linen towel to dry off his hands and the towel he used was on his shoulder,” the report states. This is listed as being corrected during the inspection.

Another critical violation is for sewage and other liquid waste: backflow prevention.

The direct connection between the sewage system and the drain originating from equipment in which food, portable equipment and utensils are placed, according to the report.

Non-critical violations

Non-critical violations include things like cutting blocks or boards with deep cuts and discoloration that cannot be cleaned and sanitized properly; rusted storage shelves and a rusting walk-in refrigerator; cooking pots that are cleaned and stored on the floor in the kitchen; improper store of food items, like flour; and non-food contact services that are unclean.

Additionally, a soiled can opener holder and a soiled ice cream freezer are listed as non-critical violations.

Inspection history

Before December, The Greenhouse Tavern was last inspected in June 2019. At that time, eight critical violations were reported and seven were non-critical.

In that report, violations included not storing food like orzo, cheese, deli meats, chicken thighs and sliced tomatoes at proper temperatures, unclean food-contact surfaces and utensils and poisonous or toxic materials in the restaurant were not labeled correctly.

During a follow-up inspection that same month, zero critical and two non-critical violations were reported in a follow-up inspection.

View all of the reports on the Cleveland Department of Public Health’s website. In the left rail type in the restaurant’s name and hit “go.”

This is a history of The Greenhouse Tavern's health department inspections since 2015.
This is a history of The Greenhouse Tavern's health department inspections since 2015. (Source: Cleveland Department of Public Health)

Inspections at other restaurants

In the last year, Sawyer closed two restaurants -- Trentina in University Circle and Noodlecat in Crocker Park -- but he also recently opened two other establishments.

Editor’s note: Inspections for the now closed Noodlecat and Trentina were not available online.

Other restaurants on East Fourth Street also had inspections recently in December.

For comparison, Lola was inspected in December as well and reported zero critical or non-critical violations.

Corner Alley, also inspected in December, had two critical and two non-critical. Zocalo had zero critical and one critical.

Sawyer’s Restaurant

Sawyer’s Restaurant, which is in The Van Aken District in Shaker Heights, opened in November.

pork chop saltimbocca⁠ •⁠ braised pork belly / scrapple / pomme purée / red eye gravy⁠

Posted by Sawyer's - Van Aken on Thursday, November 14, 2019

That restaurant was inspected on Jan. 31, 2020 by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

It listed six critical violations and nine non-critical in the latest inspection.

One of the critical citations, which was corrected during the inspection, was for improper packaging of food, like octopus, that also was not properly dated.

There’s also a citation for foods not being hot held at the proper temperature (potatoes). The report states this was corrected during the inspection.

View the full report on the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s website by typing in “Sawyer’s” in the left rail and then hitting “go.”

SeeSaw Columbus

SeeSaw Columbus was opened by Sawyer in September.

According to the Columbus Public Health Department, there were two violations recorded in the last inspection August.

One violation was not properly advising consumers the risk of consuming raw or under-cooked animal foods.

The second violation reported was for not labeling containers of poisonous or toxic materials correctly.

craving some pita bread w/ seesaw hummus 😋

Posted by SeeSaw Columbus on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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