Well last week’s restaurant inspection redemption escalated quickly. We went from an innocent plate of corn fritters to calling the health inspector on our way out. Let me tell you the tale…
Knight & Day Diner appeared in the May 27, 2016 restaurant inspection report for a host of violations. These violations included, but are not limited to, incorrect heating and cooling of food (a repeat violation from the past), using cutting boards that have been worn past acceptable use, food residue build up in places, improper drying procedures for dishes, cardboard on several locations on the kitchen floor, and a dumpster with an ill-fitting lid susceptible to rodents and insects. These are pretty typical violations that you may see weekly in inspections, but can be very serious. The foods that they were incorrectly heating or cooling are the types of food that can lead to microorganism growth or toxin formation if not cared for properly. In essence, their lack of attention to protocol can make you sick.
We decided to visit on Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend. The parking lot was overflowing and I had to park in an adjacent lot, so clearly their business wasn’t hurting. We were seated right away in a comfortable table with a great view of the whole restaurant. It looked like a typical diner including the classic glass case filled with desserts that every diner seems to have. I ordered breakfast, my favorite meal regardless of the time of day. I also ordered corn fritters because corn fritters are fucking delicious, straight up. Henry noticed that the menu was identical to the Park City diner, a restaurant he frequents. The two restaurants appear to have the same owner, so he felt pretty comfortable ordering.
The food was good. Our server Ashley was perfectly kind and accommodating. The service was decent considering they were quite busy. I enjoyed my food and got my leftovers to-go. As we waited for our bill, which did take a while to get, we had discussed redeeming Knight & Day Diner.
Then, it happened. The swinging doors to the kitchen revealed an interesting sight. The first thing I pointed out to Henry was that there was cardboard on the floor. This is a violation that appeared in their inspection report. As the doors continued swinging open, I noticed something much more sinister. There was clearly an issue with their air conditioning unit. Water was dripping from the ceiling. It had dripped through the insulation and through the tile. The insulation/tile was drooping and hanging from the ceiling while dripping water. This incident occurred right over the food preparation area. The insulation was just dangling and dripping everywhere. What Henry and I couldn’t help but notice was that the food preparation continued as this issue was occurring. We witnessed plates of food being walked underneath the dripping water.
Henry began filming what we were seeing . The whole thing blew our minds because they were quite casual about this water pouring from the ceiling onto the cardboard all over the kitchen floor. Who knows what was in that water? We understand that shit happens—trust us, we know better than most. However, we firmly believe that the issue should have been resolved while food preparation ceased to ensure safety. Eventually two kitchen workers replaced the ceiling tile with a new ceiling tile that still had water damage. The problem was apparently resolved.
Henry and I were definitely busted taking video or at least gawking, because our waitress made a point to say something about the issue. We paid our bills and left. I called the health inspector on the way home because I wanted to report what we had seen. I honestly felt like I needed to. We didn’t want to ruin their reputation or anything, but we witnessed a serious health code violation and felt obligated to say something.
We posted the video on our People of Lancaster Facebook page. It quickly gained traffic and trended, garnishing comments both of support for the diner as well as outrage over what we saw. Eventually, staff from the Knight & Day including our waitress and one other individual started commenting on the video, including talking about us as patrons with specificity. This is an understandable instinct, but I also viewed it as very unprofessional. They also informed us that the claim we made was untrue, which was not the case. In the end, the video received over 7,000 views and was shared over 40 times. The interpretation of the video is up to the viewer themselves. We just wanted to share what we saw.
I am thrilled to report that Knight & Day had a follow-up inspection on June 3rd and there were no violations found. We want this restaurant to do better and be better, so this was good news to us. Due to the violation we witnessed and the chaos on social media that ensued, we can’t redeem this diner. However, they have loyal patrons and are clearly trying to improve, so we thinking they’ll be just fine. We wish them the best of luck.
Listen to our Podcast this week to hear more about our experience at the Knight & Day Diner.