By Jill Fox
As the owner of the second oldest restaurant in Coral Springs, Rob Elbaum was devastated when the headline on WPLG’s Dirty Dining segment read “Rodent issues found at South Florida bagel business.”
Rob’s Bageland, located in Riverside Square, on Wiles Road and Riverside Drive, has been a Coral Springs staple for 31 years. The family-owned restaurant had never before received violations for bugs or roaches, nor have they ever been shut down. Elbaum said the whole perception of “dirty dining” was just not accurate.
After seeing the local news report, Elbaum wanted to set the story straight.
“I have nothing to hide,” he said, “This was a problem that I corrected.”
Elbaum is referring to a rodent that was caught a few days prior to the surprise inspection. The exterminator found a hole in the roof which caused a rat to enter the building through a tile in the ceiling. It had already been caught, and the ceiling fixed, but as a preventative measure, they kept the traps down for a few days in case any more appeared.
For those who read the report correctly, the inspector found a trap, not a rodent, said Elbaum, who insisted it was an isolated incident.
During the health inspection, the inspector found five rodent droppings.
These were nowhere near the food, just on the floor, in a corner, said Elbaum.
The inspector reported eight flies in the store, and Elbaum explained his inability to control people opening and closing the doors to the restaurant and insists that in South Florida, flies and rodents are found in businesses and people’s houses. He said, he knows it’s not an excuse, but it’s not a reflection of him either.
“It wasn’t an infestation like everyone is making it seem,” said Elbaum, who pledged to invite any customer who wants to come in and inspect, or look behind the scenes to see what they find.
When the health inspector closed the restaurant at 2:45 p.m. — just fifteen minutes before schedule, the store was scrubbed from head to toe by a cleaning crew of 12. The following morning, he returned at 8 a.m. and reopened the restaurant.
Elbaum said this isn’t the reputation that he wants.
For the past 17 years, the Coral Springs businessman has lived in the development of Whispering Woods, with his wife, Alicia. His three daughters and one son are all graduates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Elbaum owns four Bageland restaurants in Coral Springs, Tamarac, Plantation, and is opening the fifth in November, on University Drive and Commercial Blvd.
“I am here seven days a week, and I am on top of it.” I’m not a bad guy. I care very deeply about the cities of Coral Springs, Tamarac, and Sunrise.
Elbaum has made many contributions to the community, including participation in numerous charity events in the city of Coral Springs, like Relay for Life. He has raised thousands of dollars for Tip a Cop for the Special Olympics and hosted “Coffee with a Cop” with the Coral Springs Police on multiple occasions.
He said, people are making assumptions, and they are just not true and insists the restaurant receives a thorough cleaning every night by a cleaning company.
It’s important to be on top of your game, and to make sure your equipment is clean and safe for everyone involved, he said.
As far as why Rob’s Bageland received a surprise inspection less than a month after passing another, Elbaum blames a disgruntled employee who was fired for a suspected drug problem and retaliated by calling the health department.
Rob’s Bageland is located at 8188 Wiles Road in Coral Springs and is open daily from 6:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.
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