In response to Dirty Dining

ALOHA-

So there has been a lot of commotion about our recent ‘expose’ on dirty dining. Cinnamon’s is normally not one to respond back to negative criticisms& the like, but for this, we have no choice because many good people are being affected by things we have big problems with. Dirty dining got to ‘report’ their side of the story, and now we will present ours as to reassure everyone that Cinnamon’s Restaurant is in no way what dirty dining felt the need to present us as. And apparently what a whole bunch of disgruntled ex-employees are trying to add on.

The absolute firstthing of importance is however; that we take our guests & staff’s health very seriously. All the things we were faulted for on SNHD’s inspection were either corrected that day, or corrected soon after.  We’re now just waiting on their re-inspection.

Cinnamon’s can’t stress enough how important doing everything right & representing Hawai’i well, means to us & our ‘ohana. And how all of this is NOT US. We’re 4-stars and higher on everything. For all 3 of our restaurants. We’ve been in business for 35 years strong in Hawai’i, with amazing staff being with us ALL 35 years. Some even came up to help open our Vegas restaurant. We’ve won more than a few awards throughout the years, and accordingly, we obviously do a few things well. Or we wouldn’t be here.And mind-you; we feed all our employees a free staff meal EVERYDAY. From day one of our opening four years ago. Many come in on their days-off with their families to eat. They would see how bad we’re being portrayed first-hand if it was true. And yet they still eat at Cinnamon’s, let alone bring friends & loved ones if we were sooo unsafe & dangerous?

Moving forward, the major steps taken to ensure no-one has anything to fear or question about our handling of food safely, are as follows:

  1. We are shutting down this Monday 8/31 tore-organize, re-train, & deep clean everything to Nevada’s highest standard.
  2. We’re having Mr. Tim Moulson—the foremost authority of Health & Safety in Las Vegas—come in on Tuesday to approve & improve our work & practices as needed. Tim will then stay on board as a full-time consultant.
  3. We are creating a new position on staff [Health & Safety Supervisor] to specifically make sure we are in complete compliance every minute of every day from now on.
  4. Finally; we’re going ahead and taking the extra step of shutting down our recently started dinner service to shift some of that man-power to the day time to triple make sure we’re up to Vegas’ perfect standards.

We have the right people on board, are beyond motivated, and ‘health concerns’ will never be an issue again.

And where normally we would try to take the “high road” on all of this, and end it right here, and let everyone assume or gossip what they want because those who know, know; this has gone far enough, and we can’t. This ain’t Hawai’i. And those who haven’t gotten to know us are only hearing from people with agendas and dirty themselves. So, here’s us defending everything many, many good people have worked so hard and sacrificed for:

And it starts with dirty dining themselves. They took a report that is legitimate, tho with reservations, and sensationalized it to no end. Dirty dining is trying to ‘sell papers’, over-dramatize, and severely slant a story to try to rip [for whatever reason] a family-owned spot that is like many others, just trying to survive and keep others employed.

For one; how do 3-places get INSTANTLY, SHUT-DOWN ON SIGHT–one for a ROACH INFESTATION—in the same printed piece they’re presenting, but Cinnamon’s is the top-story with a bold heading & pictures, etc.? The roach offender, at a well-known hotel/casino is casually slipped in at the bottom of the page with a minimal blurb. And another well-known casino spot was shut for not having hot water; but that too is casually mentioned & buried on the bottom. Is this dirty dining supposed to be for ACTUAL health info? And genuine public concern…? Or is it for ‘shock-tertainement’ & ratings? It’s pretty obvious it’s the latter. But we’re not surprised, because we been learning how it commonly works out here: shady people put a self-serving angle on things to promote themselves, while trying to protect the ‘big boys’. And in that process, Cinnamon’s Las Vegas got painted like we’re this objectionable, intentionally mal-practicing, unsafe establishment. As if it’s amazing not every person who’s ever dined with us wasn’t poisoned…and yet we were allowed to stay open?? Explain that.While a big-player on the strip who was on-the-spot SHUT DOWN FOR ROACH INFESTATION…is quietly glossed over & strategically placed out of view, way on the bottom. Go back & check it for yourself.

And how did dirty dining twist our story? Like this:

Did we recently get inspected and get 38 demerits from the Health Department? Yes.

Are more than half of the demerits petty & head-scratching? Yes.

Are there things we did wrong? Yes. We work with humans. Was there issues with cooling pork belly? Yes, and we threw it all out. Was part of the ice machine not cleaned to our or the SNHD standard? Yes, and people were held accountable.

But as to things like“our food handlers not properly washing their hands”?? Two cooks didn’t wash their hands IN BETWEEN taking off old gloves and putting on new gloves. I’m/we’re gonna address it further, but it’s stated EXACTLY like that on the 7-page Health report dirty dining has posted on their site: they didn’t wash their hands after taking off gloves, and putting on new gloves. Okay.

Was there “standing water”—which means a puddle–on our floor? Guilty. By our sink. While we are in mid-operation. Water by a sink…shocking right?

A floor drain was “filthy”. Really?It’s a floor drain. During mid-service. It catches food & rubbish from our sink drain before it goes into our plumbing. Mostly uncooked rice. Further shocking & ‘how could we?!’ right?

What they also failed to mention is that we got multiple demerits for things like NOT displaying our A-grade sign prominently. And a mop found in a mop bucket. And having freezers that were not NOT working, but not “certified commercial”. We even got gong-ed for a light bulb being burnt out & dim lighting in an area. And it’s all right there in the exact same report.

And that’s my/our point and why we had to speak up. Nobody is going to read that 7-page report to get the truth. Everyone is just going to see the big headline, and read the exaggerated violations they putting in bold.

Again; the things we were wrong for, we admit, and fixed immediately. But MORE THAN HALF the earth-shattering, 38 demerits we’d love for YOU to be the judge of how severe a violation, and “news-worthy” they are. Attached/below is a verifiable list of the things we got cited for that are non-food-hazardous and almost petty. With easy to reference cite numbers for where on the report we’re talking about.

And whether you choose to read further to get the FULL-STORY and Cinnamon’s version, or possibly you’ve heard enough already—we appreciate you taking the time up to this point to hear ‘the other side’, from the actual source.

The last-last thing we feel unfortunately compelled to do to “defend our reputation”; is to reach-out to those who really DO kno us, DO kno what we’re about, and DO kno what we’re trying to do here. There’s many out there. And we hope all those people will voice their support in contrast to the haters & those talking out the side of their mouth out here.

As mentioned; Cinnamon’s and the Cinnamon’s ‘ohana has been serving our communities safely & successfully for more than 3 decades. We deeply care about what we do, who we do it with, and who we’re doing it for. Read the ‘real’ reviews. Ask around. Come try us for yourself. All we can do, is keep getting better, and keep doing what we do best. That’s why we came out here, and that’s what we will continue to do.

And with that, Mahalo nui for your support & trust during these trying & challenging times…

                                         -Alexander [Alika] Ke’anoho’opono Nam
& the entire Cinnamon’s ‘ohana

SPECIFICS FROM THE SNHD REPORT IN QUESTION:

– “Food handlers were not properly washing their hands.” as dirty dining so eloquently put it. That’s #2 on our report. The health inspector saw two of our cooks not washing their hands between TAKING OFF GLOVES and PUTTING ON NEW ONES. Perhaps in case the first pair of gloves has sum sort of manufacturing defect that it gets your hand dirty, and in case the second pair ALSO has sum second sort of manufacturing failure; your hands are clean underneath all those gloves. Demerits.

-Our “REPEAT OFFENSE” [#10] is the fact that we have/had one freezer in our little spot, and about 6 months ago, it was acting up, and didn’t hold temp. So, we had to dispose of hundreds of dollars worth of food because we had no back-up freezer. To prevent that from happening again; I went across the street to Lowes and bought a chest freezer. & a simple stand-up freezer. A few months later, we’re told they’re not acceptable. Not that these freezers don’t freeze like their many, many more times expensive counterparts, but because they say they’re “not as easy to clean as a commercial one”. The freezers many of you have at home that are difficult to clean apparently, are not allowed to be used. Even just to hold bread. So, they’re out. And we’re repeat demerited. Times are hard & we improvised. Fine. Guilty. & now fixed, cuz fortunately, we were able to find a decent used commercial freezer for a couple thousand dollars earlier this week, from sum other poor soul that didn’t survive these same trying times.

#11 is straight-up; the wrong placement of CLEAN, UNUSED, paper towels. One stack was too close to a box of gloves, the other too close to CLEAN dishes. Again, guilty and fixed before our inspector left.

#14as ‘highlighted’ by dirty dining was a stained cutting board “deeply grooved”, making it “harder to sanitize”. A cutting board. We literally submerse the cutting boards in required & approved sanitation solution after EVERY use; but that’s demerits, so bye-bye, used cutting board. & hello dirty dining.

#16 among other things is a soiled floor catch in the floor drain [which we mentioned earlier], a greasy towel in the fryer ‘cabinet’, standing water by a sink [also mentioned], and scale build-up OUTSIDE our dishwashing machine. So; a floor drain strainer/screen…in our dishwashing area…with rice it caught before going down into our drains, during mid-operation…Demerits. A towel in the fryer cabinet our cooks use to hold the attachment/pipe we drain the used oil from the fryer with at the end of the day…? There’s a picture. Health-hazard. More demerits. “Standing water”—meaning a small puddle—on the floor, close to our 3-COMPARTMENT SINK. Again; mid-day in our operations. A puddle by our sink…that’s crazy. Another health-hazard of sum sort. More demerits. Scale [meaning dried water stains, etc.] on the OUTSIDE of our dishwashing machine & the wall. Yet more demerits. Again; all ‘true’. Read the report. 

#16 continues with 2 cans of raid in our office. We have had [& still have] a contracted reputable extermination company for 4-years & counting, every minute we’ve been open. Apparently jus having household bug-spray in your office is a violation. Demerits. Thankfully, it’s a Hawaiian restaurant, so if a spider or who-knows-what kind of desert-dweller comes in our restaurant, we can use a slippah. That mite be legal. Maybe. 

And speaking of spiders coming in; #16 also indicates “air curtain unplugged…”. That’s the big fan that blows when you open the door to keep things from blowing or flying in the opened door. Our guys unplugged one of them to clean it before the inspector came in and failed to plug it back in. We literally plugged it back in, and we’re back in compliance…within a minute, but that too was demerits.

#23. This one is our favorite. The first part is one that dirty dining is using to make out that we’re ‘intentionally adjusting labels’ to skirt the expiration date of the items or something. Like we’re plotting to serve expired , unsafe food by lying on the labels. A new older staff member who bakes once a week for us got her day mixed-up THAT DAY, and thought it was 8/11 instead of 8/12. Nobody else during these covid months of complete upside-down schedules and normalcy hasn’t done that? Weekly even? Well she did that moment. And she was wrong. But because of that, it seems like we were trying to manipulate the shelf-life of 12 snicker doodle cookies for charity, a sheet of pre-cooked potatoes for our homefries [which will be used before the end of the next day], and a tray of par-cooked, cooling bacon [that will also be used within the next day]. Apparently, all in order to harm our guests–who pay our staffs wages & most of our bills. Oh and we’d also be trying to harm our staff too because again; everyone eats there. Makes no sense.

#23 goes on to demerit us for not prominently displaying our previous Health Dept “A-Grade”. It was in a frame on the wall that fell and broke. See that blank space on the wall in that picture with the other frames? Right there. It was sitting on the counter in a broken frame, waiting for repair & re-hanging, at the time of our inspection. Why would we INTENTIONALLY NOT POST OUR “A” GRADE? But it wasn’t up & prominently displayed, and that’s a rule, and that’s more demerits.

Good ole #23 ends with multiple demerits for our temporary, paper, COVID-adjusted menus not having the fricking common sense “REMINDER” that “eating undercooked foods isn’t recommended…”. Followed-up with us not having the asterisk on these same temporary paper menus next to eggs & steak that you might order less than “medium” cooked, and thus, risk your own health. Again; guilty. But for lack of asterisks on a temporary paper menu to protect you from yourself. Call the cops.

#32 is our final infraction. Another winner. First part is—get this craziness—how are we still open?—a MOP…in a MOP BUCKET. Yup. How dare we? At the closing of our restaurant, we have a wet mop, in a mop bucket. A mop that we change the heads of at the end of every day…in a mop bucket. Our guy was just finished mopping that small, unacceptable puddle next to our sink. More demerits.

And finally, our major violating, front headlines, dirty dining worthy, report ends with the second part of that final infraction[#32], which reads: “dim lights & a burnt out light-bulb” over a particular area of use. Inadequate lighting was the final demerits of all this.

Judge how you want.It’s all in the report. Thank you again for your interest, concern, & taking the time. Malama Pono, stay positive & stay healthy…