It’s easy to see why Pirogue Grille has a perfect record when it comes to food-safety inspections.
The kitchen is cramped, especially when all of the cooks and wait staff are busy in the evenings, but all ingredients are labeled and stored neatly on clean metal racks around the food prep stations. The employees wear clean, logoed uniforms. The floors are spotless. The equipment – from ovens to floor mats – is deep cleaned on a routine schedule. And there are multiple hand-washing stations for employees who handle the food.
Pirogue Grille owners Stuart and Cheryl Tracy wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We try to be very consistent in training – what’s right and what’s wrong,” Stuart Tracy said. “The constant attention to detail that we apply to our food also applies to our work environment. The weekly cleaning schedule that has been in place since day one, with everyone doing specific tasks, helps keep our equipment and surroundings in good condition.”
The restaurant, located on Fourth Street in Downtown Bismarck, is a model of cleanliness and professionalism. It’s the only restaurant that hasn’t been dinged for violating the city’s food code during the past four years. In fact, the restaurant has had 12 inspections and no violations since 2007.
Part of the reason Pirogue Grille has breezed through the inspections is that the Stuarts are keenly aware of the types of miscues that lead to violations.
“The current violations from other establishments are posted in our kitchen as a reminder for us to stay focused,” Stuart Tracy said.
Anton Sattler, the administrator of Bismarck’s Environmental Health Division, said it’s not easy to avoid violations. With literally hundreds of requirements in the city’s food code, management has to be on the lookout constantly for potential infractions, he said.
“If you have one employee that screws up and leaves an uncovered personal beverage on the counter, that’s a violation,” he said. “Managers making sure they’re regularly checking to make sure employees are doing it right – that’s the ticket. And it’s not easy to do.”
-Matt Bunk is publisher of the Great Plains Examiner.