MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) - Health inspectors found discarded turkey carcasses and other unsanitary conditions during a routine inspection at a restaurant that has been a Muncie institution.
QL's is a drive-thru barbeque joint that has been in business for more than 40 years.
Now warnings are posted outside QL's. The restaurant is closed because a routine inspection turned up 23 violations.
"They are burning trash such as chemical bottles in their smoker," said Sharon Pattee of the Delaware County Health Department, "so I'm not sure they're doing the meat, but they are smoking garbage."
The image of founder QL Stevens is still smiling on the menu and older customer reviews tell a glowing story online. QL's barbeque was described as the "Best I ever had" in a 2008 review on Urbanspoon . It was more than food that made this a Muncie institution.
"At holiday time he would barbeque your ham or your turkey," said David Burgauer.
24-Hour News 8 caught up to Burgauer as he was pulling away from QL's on Tuesday. He says that since Stevens died in 2010 things haven't been the same. Recent online reviews from Trip Advisor mirror that sentiment.
Burgauer was at the restaurant Tuesday to repossess a cash register — in part, because he fears that QL's will never reopen.
"I wish them all the luck in the world," he said, "but when you let that happen you're fighting a losing cause, especially if it's in the food industry."
Reached by phone, Tamica Crumes, Stevens's granddaughter, says she hopes to reopen and restore QL's to what it was, but Lynetta Harley of the Delaware County Health Department says the family was uncooperative when inspectors tried to schedule a visit.
"Once they did get in," Harley said, "it was a sight to see."
She tells a story that includes unflushable toilets and those discarded turkey carcasses.
"Seeing the carcasses," she said, "is just something that we're not used to seeing."
And outside the building there is an odor that's hard to miss.
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