After failing a restaurant inspection and two follow-ups, Enzo's Pizza on Highway 78 is now back in business.
Owner Tom Tillotson was behind the counter Friday furiously folding pizza boxes in anticipation of a weekend rush of customers.
The pizza place was temporarily shut down on May 21 after scoring a 53 U on their health inspection. During that review, the inspector reported issues with the refrigeration system, the cooking area being unclean and seeing cockroaches crawling throughout the kitchen and restaurant. Roaches were still found on follow-up inspections in May and .
Tillotson takes total ownership for the mistakes made at Enzo’s.
“It’s my fault. There’s no reason to blame anyone,” he said. “I probably wasn’t around enough. Can’t really blame anyone but me.”
Tillotson - who’s been in the restaurant business since he was 17 - also owns an Enzo’s in Tucker. He notes, in that location’s seven years, he has never had these kinds of issues, although Tucker Patch reported they failed an inspection in February. Tilloston said he had not been spending enough time in the Snellville restaurant, and if he had, some of the issues - especially with the roaches and cleanliness - would not have reached the levels they did.
“I’m saying I wasn’t here enough. No one told me that there was an issue. When I found out, it was too late to do anything,” he explained. “So at that point it was more important to get it right and not trying to fudge an opening or not try to open before we were ready.”
Enzo’s faithful customers did support the restaurant during the clean up. “All week long, we’ve had customers coming in and saying ‘Come on! When are you going to get back open? We’re ready for you to get back open,’” he said.
Tillotson was relieved to announce the restaurant passed a third follow-up inspection with a score of 99A. He posted a photo the newest report on Facebook and on Snellville Patch late Thursday evening. The owner said he was aiming for a perfect score.
One of the changes Tilloston has made is contracting with a pest control company. He opted to go with Stinger, an environmentally friendly company, which Tilloston says may be why it took longer to get rid of the pests than it normally would.
“I didn’t want harsh chemicals in here,” he explained. However, he says he will work with Stinger to keep roaches and other bugs out of the restaurant for good.
“We were bug free yesterday, we plan to stay bug free,” said Tilloston. “Stinger’s going to come once a week until we know for sure we’re bug free, but we’re bug free now. We’re doing everything we can to make things right.”
Another change is bringing in new staff. Tilloston noted he’s still looking for more people to work in the restaurant.
Typically, follow-up health inspections are requested once a month. However, Tilloston is requesting a re-inspections at least every two weeks for a while to make sure everything is up to par.
One issue is re-stocking supplies. They had to throw away a lot of their ingredients since they were closed for three weeks.
Tilloston is now working on getting his restaurant back to full steam and filling the seats with customers once again. Pizza lovers trickled into Enzo’s all day long according to Tilloston. “Customers have come in and they’re happy we’re back,” he said. “People are forgiving.”
At the time Patch was there, one customer was sitting on the restaurant’s patio, enjoying the mid-afternoon sun.
Tilloston is hoping more of their customers will return and hopefully new ones will come with them.
To welcome them back and say thank you, Enzo’s is offering all customers as many free bread knots as they’d like. Tilloston also said he will be announcing other deals on Enzo’s Facebook page throughout the week.
“I feel horrible and embarrassed about what happened,” said Tilloston. “And it’s not going to happen again.”