Restaurant Guru: Lord of the Flies

Dear Restaurant Guru,

I’ve always believed that fruit flies in a restaurant are a sign the restaurant is dirty and I shouldn’t eat there.  Lately I am seeing fruit flies in lots of Raleigh restaurants. Are they all dirty? Should I skip all of those spots?

Sincerely,

Lording over the Flies

Dear Lording over the Flies,

It’s the dog days of summer, historically known for sudden thunderstorms, fever, and causing dogs to go mad. But in a restaurant, it’s the season of the flies. There’s no hope. There’s no help. You can’t run. You can’t hide… and I’m only half kidding.

During this time of year, every restaurant and bar needs to be extremely clean. Any bit of lime juice, simple syrup, accidental spills or uncovered product will spell disaster for an establishment. Fruit flies typically invade with your produce order from the farm. They’re attracted to rotting and fermenting fruits and veggies. Here’s the scary part: a fruit fly will lay about 500 eggs in its 10-day life cycle.

But let’s not freak out.

Any restaurant with a strong cleaning schedule will still get some flies, because it’s nearly impossible to be perfect. But, keeping all areas dry and clean, tossing out bruised fruit and veggies, and wrapping up food and liquor bottles at night will definitely help.

*Side note – I recently got back from France and they have a ‘laissez faire’ approach to flies, but I guess that makes sense? After all, it’s a French term. Americans tend to have a hatred for these mercurial monsters, and I am no different.

In short, should you skip these fly-ridden places? No. But consider the restaurant’s fly-plight is universal during these times.

When dining, I recommend avoiding the patio, the bar service well and any place that keeps ketchup bottles on the table. It may be as simple as out of sight, out of mind.