Florida Restaurant's Grease Trap Issue With County Resolved
Curley’s restaurant has been a popular breakfast place in Opa-Locka Florida for 31 years. But owner Ernest Hill had issues with Miami-Dade County after they informed him out of the blue that the county has no record of his restaurant.
Most restaurants don’t last three years, much less three decades. Ernest Hill has been serving bacon, sausage, eggs, grits and toast in Opa-Locka for 31 years.
He purchased the business back in 1990 and doesn't have a mortgage. Monthly rent expenses could be detrimental to his business.
Ernest was worried about keeping the grill going after Miami-Dade County told him him that the Department of Environmental Resources Management has no record of his restaurant.
With no record of the restaurant, the Department of Environmental Resources Management said that they never approved his fats, oils and grease system, or grease trap, that has been working since 1990.
The restaurant owner said he doesn’t have those plans from 1990.
So the Department of Environmental Resources Management required him to submit engineering plans to the building department along with a proposal for a new grease trap.
The restaurant owner was worried about his livelihood and could not to put in a new grease trap and do repairs that’s he didn't think were necessary for an existing commercial kitchen.
So he reached out for help to his local TV station.
While the Department of Environmental Resources Management may not have record of his building, the city of Opa-Locka renewed his occupational license every year, the county renewed his business license and the state did as well.
For 31 years, no problems. But in 2021, now it’s a problem.
When you make your living selling bacon and eggs, thousands of dollars for new plans and equipment could shut down his business.
The local TV station reached out to their legal expert who said that it was unfair to the business owner. The City was supposed to contact the Department of Environmental Resources Management every year to make sure the business owner had approval for a grease trap before they issued his occupational license.
For decades the City never did it, and now it’s left up to the business owner to correct their mistakes.
The Department of Environmental Resources Management understood the financial difficulty the restaurant owner was facing paying for engineering plans for the building and a new grease trap, and they were willing to provide the owner with an extension of time to comply with the code requirements.
The restaurant owner started a GoFundMe page to keep his bacon and egg breakfasts going.
Viewers of the local TV station donated $16,300 to help make all the changes to Curley’s.
The door is open, the grill is sizzling, and Ernest is happy again. Hopefully Curley’s will be around for another 31 years.
To prevent problems in your commercial kitchen that can result from having a clogged grease trap, consider installing The Drain Strainer. Invented by a former restaurant owner, The Drain Strainer is a commercial garbage disposal alternative that captures food solids that could clog your pipes and grease trap while still allowing your sinks to drain quickly.