The Grill Master was alive and bustling as hamburgers and hotdogs sizzled away, the two locations back to making about 400 transactions daily. It was a very different scene from almost two weeks earlier when the Grill Master locations closed the hoods of their grills.
The reason? The Ledger reported that the Health Department had closed down the stands after receiving information that the stands existed, as well as concerns that there was no way for employees to wash their hands.
“That’s completely false,” Tim Raible, Florida Southern College’s director of food services, said.
Although the locations were closed, Raible said that there was a different reason for the closure.
“There were no violations,” Raible said. “It was closed as a result of permitting.”
Elizabeth Collier, a junior religion major, often buys food at the Grill Master. She said she was surprised that The Ledger said the Health Department did not know that the stands were there.
Raible says that, contrary to the article, the Health Department knew about the locations and had inspected them in the past.
“They had definitely seen them all,” Raible said. “They both came out in October just specifically to see them.”
The Health Department came out late October in order to inspect the Grill Master locations, and there were no problems.
“In the newspaper it stated that there weren’t hand washing [stations]. That’s not true,” Raible said. “We have hand washing at both locations. It’s a Cambro-designed hand washing unit that has the soap dispenser, it has paper towels. And it holds hot water. So, according to the code, it’s within code.”
In early November, after the inspections, “The Ledger” raised questions to the Health Department about whether or not the locations had the proper permits to operate each location. The Health Department said that they would reach a decision on the issue by Nov. 22.
“I always thought I could do catering anywhere on property…to me, it was just an extension of that where I have the ability to serve food anywhere on property,” Raible said on Nov. 21. “And so, was it a misread? I don’t know. It may be, depending on what the results are tomorrow.”
Before the article in question came out, “The Ledger” left a message for Raible, asking him to respond before 4 p.m. that day without telling him what they wanted to talk about.
“I didn’t respond by four o’clock. I got back to my office, it was after,” Raible said. “And, I had no chance or opportunity to really respond.”
Towards the end of the article, “The Ledger” did mention the permitting questions. As a result of those questions, the Grill Master locations closed on Nov. 13 while the issue was examined.
Alec Wathen, a sophomore psychology major, often came to the Grill Master to get lunch after his class lets out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“I came here and they weren’t here,” Wathen said.
While the locations remained closed, an area was set up in Tutu’s where students could purchase hamburgers and chicken sandwiches cooked in Wynee’s Bistro.
“Grilled veggies was my thing, and they don’t have grilled veggies anymore, so that sucks,” Collier said. “But other than that it’s not that big of a deal to me.”
However, the permit situation was resolved. The grills were relit and the locations reopened on Nov. 25.
“I was very, very happy,” Wathen said. “I missed the Grill Master.”
Photo by Leah Schwarting