Unclean dishes, handling food with bare hands: North Myrtle restaurant gets low score

A North Myrtle Beach diner received a low food grade after employees were witnessed handling ready-to-eat food with bare hands and dishes were not properly cleaned, according to a S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control inspection.

Denny’s, at 730 Hwy 17 S., was handed a 75 percent on its March 25 routine inspection.

The inspection report states an employee was seen handling burgers, prepping sandwiches and fixings with bare hands, and walking around using a personal cell phone while working the cooking line.

Glasses were unclean, according to the inspection report, with dried-up milkshake and a hazy appearance. Food in a cooler was being held at a higher temperature than required, the report states. According to DHEC, cold foods must be maintained at 41 degrees or below. Fish was not being properly thawed during the time of the inspection, according to the report.

A chemical bottle was stored on a shelf with condiments, the report states.

There was an accumulation of “food debris” on shelves, a buildup of grease, grime and food splash on equipment and coolers, according to the inspection report.

The North Myrtle Beach breakfast spot received two C grades and one A grade in December during follow-up inspections, according to DHEC’s website.

DHEC inspectors conduct risk-based inspections annually or quarterly based on an establishment’s food process and compliance history, according to DHEC. Scores are a “snapshot in time” based on how food establishments handle five risk factors: food contact equipment cleanliness, cooking temperatures, employee health, food sources and food holding temperatures.

The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.