Health inspectors give Shiloh Golden Corral the all clear

SHILOH, Ill. – A Swansea, Illinois woman’s complaints about bugs at a restaurant buffet attracted attention from the state health department.

Kathleen Montgomery won’t soon forget her family’s visit to Golden Corral in Shiloh earlier this month.

“They were cockroaches, there was three or four of them by the steaks on the buffet and we just kind of all lost our appetite after that,” she said.

The manager gave them their money back. She posted her experience on Facebook and the post spread like wildfire. The state health department saw it and contacted St. Clair County health official, who made a surprise visit to the restaurant.

Health officials did not find any cockroaches, but they did see other problems, including hundreds of fruit flies.

“Insects can be a carrier of disease,” said Sharon Valentin, the Director of Environmental Programs in the St. Clair County Health Department.

The parking lot was not jammed Wednesday at lunchtime.

“I noticed there wasn’t (sic) that many people in there,” said customer Mark Schaefer.

Schaefer said in the past some of the plates he used had dried food on them.

Fox 2/KPLR 11 checked inspection records from the past five years and found Golden Corral scored in the 90s on many inspections. We also discovered a grade of “64” on one inspection, which was four years ago.

The health department has inspected the place twice since the original complaint earlier this month and gave the Golden Corral the all clear.

“They have done a lot of work,” Valentine said. “They have done a lot of cleaning. They have had insect control. They have done a fine job in getting back to where they need to be.”

“Yeah it was clean, good food,” said Marcello Torres, who had lunch at Golden Corral Wednesday.

Torres said he would come back.

Kathleen Montgomery said she won’t return; the last visit left a lasting impression.

“I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble, that was never my intention, but I’m glad attention was brought to the situation and it’s being taken care of,” she said.

In the future, Illinois will adopt federal guidelines and people can see what’s going in the kitchens. For example, the number of violations of foodborne illness risk factors found by inspectors will be listed online.

Golden Corral said in a statement that this was an isolated incident and that the safety and well-being of their guests have always been their first priority.