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Southern Spoon owner expresses the loss of business after miscommunication with the county

Douglas County Public Health releases list of the restaurants that failed to make annual payment. Now one business owner is losing customers.
Posted at 7:56 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 20:56:38-05
  • Video shows Southern Spoon, a list of restaurants that failed to make annual payment from the Douglas County Health Department, and a statement from the Douglas County Health Department.
  • Jay Overton, the owner of Southern Spoon, shares business has grown slow after the new release of the list. Overton also expresses what he hopes to change when it comes to the health department notifying establishments.

The Southern Spoon, a North Omaha restaurant that’s known for its array of different food is now fighting to clear it's reputation.

I’m you North Omaha neighborhood reporter, Melissa Wright, at 40th and Ames, speaking with the owner of the restaurant and the health department about how the department collects late payments.

On Feb. 16, the Southern Spoon had its annual health inspection.

During the time, owner Jay Overton, says he confirmed with the inspector that everything was approved

"I asked him again... three different times before he walked out. Are you sure we don't owe you any money? He said, no you're good, you don't owe us anything," Overton said.

Not even a full week later, business has slowed. This comes after the Douglas County Health Department released a list of businesses that have not made the required annual payment.

Overton’s business was listed - along with many others. He says the health department's tactic is damaging to his business.

"Shaming our businesses and everything like that," Overton said. "Once you say health department in a small business or a restaurant. People are like well wait a minute. They must have issues or problems... We ain't going there"

Overton says, there is a lot that goes into being a small business owner. The small postcard sent out by the Post Office can go unnoticed.

"You get a lot of mail. I got so much mail actually coming not only to my businesses but to my home. It actually like I can take an actual cart and go pick my mail in a basket," Overton said.

I reached out to the Douglas County Health Department, they replied: "Businesses received their permit fee invoices in November and have received reminders. This is an annual expense for all local food and drink establishments. We apologize for any miscommunication that may have occurred in this case. Once we realized the error, we corrected it."

They also added: "Inspectors have an extensive checklist of potential violations that are reviewed when they visit a restaurant.
We may discuss the naming policy in the future no decision has been made."