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Restaurant Report: Little Joe's get big award

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PORTLAND (WGME) -- A Thai restaurant fails its second health inspection and critical violations are found at a popular seafood restaurant.

Plus, one bar and grill serving burgers for almost a century gets a clean bill of health.

With a bright green sign, you can't miss Sengchai Thai Cuisine on Forest Ave. One customer gave the restaurant five stars on Yelp, and said "My favorite Thai place for takeout."

Health inspectors weren't as impressed.

Last month, the restaurant failed, after the inspector reports finding, "40 lbs. raw chicken stored in dirty wash bin." The inspector also noted, "nonfood contact surfaces are not clean" specifically "need to clean all coolers inside and out."

It's the second time the restaurant has failed an inspection in 2 years. CBS 13 stopped in, and owner Loc Truong said improvements had been made.

"I cleaned everything good, the microwave was cleaned good and I got a new cooler for the chicken. It is very important to me to have a clean restaurant," Truong said.

This follow up inspection proves it. Most issues have been corrected.

Benny's Landing may be closed for the winter, but health inspectors found staff has their work cut out for them this summer.

The West Commercial Street restaurant failed an October inspection.

The inspector found 6 critical violations including, "fry punch has rotted potato and black matter all over it," a *repeat* violation. Plus, there were "several flies in kitchen and dining area."

CBS 13 reached out to management for a comment, but no one responded.

This week's Gold Plate winner is in Lewiston.

Little Joe's Bar & Grill has been serving burgers for nearly a century.

A picture of Joe, the original owner, still hangs on the wall. Staff says over the years, customers have become like family.

Inspectors left in a cheery mood last October, after popping in and finding zero health code violations.

Cook Jessie Malarase took us into her kitchen. Malarase says it's easy to keep things clean when you have a great team like hers.

"We all work together, makes it good," Malarase said.

To make it even better, we're giving Little Joe's a Gold Plate award.

So customers can keep digging into Malarase's creations, one bite at a time.

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