Pennsylvania hotel breaking all the rules

When inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture responded to a consumer complaint at the Holiday Inn in Lancaster County, they were surprised by what they found — but given the hotel’s laundry list of offenses, perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a shock.

When the hotel’s walk-in refrigerator failed, they moved its contents to a guest room for cooling. The room’s air conditioner was turned all the way down to 65 degrees — 24 degrees higher than the maximum temperature allowed by state public health guidelines. This is but one of many ridiculous incidents that begs the question: Why is this Holiday Inn still open?

On the same day of the food inspection, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers searched the hotel and found that it was selling liquor without a license, and had been doing so for over a year, when ownership changed hands and the new owners never sought to renew the liquor license.

The problems don’t end there.Treasury officials say the hotel has failed to pay taxes since July 21. There is no way to know how much the hotel owes, because those figures come from the hotel’s monthly reports, and guess what? Those aren’t accurate or complete, either. However, the state Department of Revenue recently placed a lien on the property for $29,259.28 in unpaid sales taxes for November and December of 2007.

Employees paint an even grimmer picture for the Holiday Inn. They say paychecks have been late and have bounced, and they have been paying insurance premiums out of their paychecks, yet the hotel isn’t actually carrying insurance. One employee found this out the hard way when he went in for surgery and was told he didn’t have insurance, even though he’d been paying for it through his employer.

Housekeeping employees have been instructed to rinse out and reuse disposable supplies in guest rooms. This includes refilling used shampoo bottles and — ew — rinsing out and reusing trash bags. The job market in Lancaster must be pretty dismal for these workers to stick around.

On top of everything else, utilities and cable have been shut off at the hotel due to failure to pay bills, and the building has failed fire code inspections as well.

What does a hotel in Lancaster County, PA have to do to get shut down?!

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Can you finish the world’s largest burger?

Have you ever heard of Clearfield, Pennsylvania? Neither have I. But it’s not much of a detour off Interstate 80, right in the center of the state, and the little town has a pretty amusing claim to fame.

Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield is the home of the world’s largest hamburgers. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, here is where you’ll find the “largest hamburger commercially available,” and if you can finish it, you’ll have a place in the record books, too.

Owner Denny Liegey has been challenging customers with his behemoth burgers since the early 1990’s. The pub challenges begin with a 2-pound burger, which seems tiny compared to 3, 6, and 15-pound versions. Those who finish their burgers (one challenger per burger, or two for the 15-pound “belly buster,” and there’s a time limit, of course) get their name and picture in the restaurant’s hall of fame, as well as a t-shirt, certificate of completion, and a discount on their bill.

According to Denny, only one person has ever conquered the “Ye Olde 96er,” which is 6 pounds of beef and 9 pounds altogether. This challenger was just “a little, skinny college girl from Princeton!”

The largest burger ever cooked at Denny’s was the 123-pound monster pictured above. Read more about how Denny makes his giant burgers here.

So, do you think you could eat the world’s largest burger? Perhaps a better question is why would you want to try?

The big burgers require several hours of preparation time, so if you’re going to take on the challenge, call ahead. Good luck!