We’re not sure what it is, but Hawaii restaurants closures seem to be worse than normal, with problems including pest infestations that are resulting in sudden red “closed” placards at the hands of the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). Here’s another case in point. At the same time, another well-known restaurant finally reopened after continuing infestations and inspections.
First, in the latest closure, the DOH’s Maui Food Safety Branch issued another red placard and immediately closed the generally liked and well-reviewed Betty’s Beach Cafe. That followed a complaint the DOH had received and follow-up inspections last week. DOH reported that this closure was due to a cockroach infestation. The restaurant is located at 505 Front Street, in Lahaina. The owner is J. Group Corp.
Recent reviews have been generally favorable about Betty’s Beach Cafe.
The restaurant, with an incredible view pictured here, is generally well regarded. Recent reviews include “the view and the menu just can’t be beat!” “Delicious options for brunch and dinner “Keep(s) us coming back for more every time we’re on Maui.” Another said, “Perfect breakfast spot. The food was great!”
At the same time, digging deeper, we found some unrelated yet concerning reviews. Those included, “The service wasn’t great (not friendly or attentive). “The meal was extremely bland… so I won’t go back.” And, “There’s a reason this place isn’t busy.” They added that they were charged an extra $7 for a “chip refill” and a “random 2% added service charge.” They concluded, “I would definitely go elsewhere” if you are looking for dinner in the Lahaina area.”
Another recent guest said it was “Less than memorable… My Denver Omelette resembled a large yellow wallet. The home fries should have stayed home… Tired spot.” We did not, however, find mention of cockroaches in the reviews we scanned.
It’s good that restaurant visitors take notice and report problems to the DOH.
We have done the same multiple times, both here in Hawaii and elsewhere, and feel it is our responsibility to do so. The Maui Branch of the DOH “Received an anonymous complaint regarding cockroach activity at the front bar. As a result, routine and complaint inspections were conducted on July 25, 2023. During the inspections, cockroach activity was observed within the front bar. However, some areas behind the kitchen equipment could not be accessed. Several other critical violations were observed; therefore, a yellow “Conditional Pass” placard was posted.”
The Department of Health remained vigilant and returned on July 27 when it found a cockroach infestation, “Both juvenile and adult cockroach activity was observed within refrigeration units and on and around various food contact surfaces. It was determined to close the restaurant to protect public health, and a red “Closed” placard was issued.”
DOH is awaiting corrective measures before the restaurant will be permitted to reopen.
Betty’s was told to do the following: First, retain “A professional pest control company and discuss an aggressive cockroach treatment and monitoring plan to eradicate the active roach population. Seal all cracks and openings in the walls to prevent future pest entryways. Clean and remove all grease and food debris throughout the kitchen and bar areas.”
Maui’s Brewery Company just reopened by state.
Maui Brewing Company’s Lahaina (Kahana) Maui location was reopened by The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) Food Safety Branch via a green placard following the latest inspection on July 26.
The process was ongoing following the closure on July 11. That location’s closure resulted primarily due to cockroach and rodent infestations which DOH found during their inspection.
“Rodent droppings and live cockroach activity were observed throughout the establishment, including on food items… Two dead rodents were also observed in rodent traps.”
Follow-up inspections took place to determine when the problems had been corrected.
When the DOH initially returned on July 19, they determined that while the well-regarded 4.4* reviewed restaurant had been cleaned and areas de-greased that had harbored pests, there was still a cockroach infestation which resulted in the establishment remaining closed.
As of the most recent inspection, however, the pests were gone, and the restaurant in Lahaina was allowed to reopen. They are required by the DOH to continue weekly treatments by pest control professionals for the next month to ensure compliance. DOH will continue to provide inspections.