19 eateries fail inspections; most pass on follow-up

2014-07-12T10:00:00Z 2014-07-15T09:46:45Z 19 eateries fail inspections; most pass on follow-upBy Emily Bregel Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Nineteen local eateries failed health inspections in June, but most passed follow-up inspections. Here’s what you need to know:

Agustin Kitchen

100 S. Avenida Del Convento

  • History: Passed its first inspection with excellent rating in January.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on June 20, including employees making salads bare-handed, ineffective food-contact controls and employees not washing hands between washing dishes and preparing food.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 30.
  • Response: “This situation is certainly not consistent with our practices. We take everything very seriously, and these matters have already been corrected and approved by the health department,” manager Ryan Clark said in an email.
Arizona Sports Grill and Cheeburger Cheeburger (the two restaurants share a kitchen)

7250 S. Tucson Blvd.

  • History: Good, excellent or passing inspections since 2000.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations found on June 16, including employees not cleaning hands after handling raw food, dirty dishes and equipment, and lack of dates on prepped food.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 26.
  • Response: “We’ve put a bunch of new practices in place. Issues like that should never occur again,” said Doug Benz, director of operations.
Circle K

6750 S. Craycroft Road

  • History: Some critical violations found in 2003 inspection, but they were remedied within 10 days.
  • What the inspector saw: Six critical violations were found June 24, including foods not correctly dated, food surfaces not adequately cleaned and lack of hand-washing facilities other than the bathroom’s.
  • Follow-up: Failed July 7.
  • Response: “Our customers’ safety is most important to us. We take these inspections very seriously and have made all the corrections noted on the evaluation report,” said Terry Brown, advertising manager, in an email.
Five Palms Steak & Seafood

3500 E. Sunrise Drive

  • History: Passed only other inspection, in March 2013.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on June 18, including potentially hazardous food stored at incorrect temperatures, dishes and utensils improperly cleaned, and food and grease build-up evident throughout the facility.
  • Follow-up: Failed June 27, then passed June 30.
  • Response: “The problems had a lot to do with equipment, and the equipment has been repaired. We were in the process of doing remodeling at the time, but all of that’s been taken care of,” said John Thompson, operations manager.
5 Points Market & Restaurant

756 S. Stone Ave.

  • History: Passed first inspection in December 2013.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on June 19, including foods stored at incorrect temperatures, soap stored on the food prep sink and an employee cutting fruit bare-handed.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 30.
  • Response: “The staff at 5 Points Market & Restaurant take pride in promoting high levels of cleanliness and food safety. As long-time professionals in the food industry, we were surprised to receive a provisional license from Pima County Health Department but have since enacted policy to ensure 100 percent compliance with food safety regulations,” owner Brian Haskins said in an email.
Hotrods Restaurant

10500 E. Old Vail Road

  • History: Good inspections since first one in 2012.
  • What the inspector saw: Six critical violations found on June 11. Food stored at incorrect temperatures, employee put raw chicken on grill and then failed to wash hands, and washed utensils had food on them.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 23.
  • Response: The restaurant bought new coolers and serviced existing coolers, and replaced its chef. “We have temperature charts done every hour, and new cleaning regulations in the back. Hopefully the next time they come out, we’ll get an excellent” rating, said David Begeman, general manager.
Kung Fu Noodle

3122 N. Campbell Ave.

  • History: This was the first inspection.
  • What the inspector saw: Nine critical violations on June 3, including a pork roast thawed overnight at room temperature instead of in the refrigerator, staff washing hands without soap and rice stored in dirty plastic bowls. Staff was unable to answer questions on food safety.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 13.
  • Response: Owner Weiting Chen said they’ve added more soap and improved air circulation in their cooler so temperatures stay cold.
La Mia Toscana Italian Kitchen

7332 N. Oracle Road

  • History: Good inspections since first one in 2013.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on June 12: Employees chopping food with bare hands and touching faces without washing hands afterward; cutting boards sanitized nightly instead of every four hours, as required.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 24.
  • Response: The general manager declined to comment.
La Posada Lodge & Casitas — Gringo Grill and Cantina

5900 N. Oracle Road

  • History: Good inspections since first one in 2013.
  • What the inspector saw: Eight critical violations on June 27, including food stored at incorrect temperatures, employee failed to wash hands after touching a raw burger, food debris on pans and moldy fruit and curdled milk in refrigerator.
  • Follow-up: Failed July 8.
  • Response: “The culinary team at Gringo sincerely apologizes for the recent lapses in procedure and wishes to thank the Pima County Health Department for their help in their resolution. Our team is working hard to resolve all of the problems for the long term. As a result, we have a much more rigorous training and inspection policy. We are more focused on the execution of these policies and we thank our valued customers for their understanding,” said area general manager David Miller in a statement.
Noble Hops

1335 W. Lambert Lane

  • History: Good or excellent inspections since 2011.
  • What the inspector saw: Five critical violations found on June 25, including food stored at incorrect temperatures, prepped food undated and employees using improper hand-washing procedures.
  • Follow-up: Passed July 7.
  • Response: The restaurant is appealing the violations, said owner Aric Mussman. Some prepped food wasn’t yet labeled with dates because the inspection was at 10 a.m. and staff was still prepping food, Mussman said. He says the inspector’s thermometer readings were inconsistent. “We checked immediately afterwards, and all our temperatures were fine,” he said. “We are appealing this and will continue our high standards of quality control, exceeding state health requirements just like we have the past eight years at all of our restaurants.”
Penca

50 E. Broadway

  • History: Good or excellent inspections since it opened in 2013.
  • What the inspector saw: Six critical violations on June 24, including food stored at incorrect temperatures, blenders with food residue in them, inconsistent date-marking of stored food and chicken thawing in food prep sink, instead of in refrigerator or under running water.
  • Follow-up: Passed July 10.
  • Response: “We have always complied with all health department regulations and will continue to do so. All items listed on our report have been resolved,” said Glen Stosius, general manager, in an email.
Pollo Feliz

2634 E. Broadway

  • History: Critical violations found in 2006 but remedied within 10 days. Otherwise excellent and good inspections since 2002.
  • What the inspector saw: Eight critical violations found on June 2, including incorrect temperatures for storing potentially hazardous food, employees not properly washing hands, equipment stored with food and grease build-up. Also there was a direct connection between sanitizer sink and sewage system, a hazard in case of back-flow. Floors and walls in “severe disrepair.”
  • Follow-up: Passed June 12.
  • Response: Manager did not return calls seeking comment.
BK Carne Asada and Hot Dogs

2680 N. 1st Ave.

  • History: Critical violations found in 2008 but remedied within 10 days. Otherwise, excellent or good inspections since 2006.
  • What the inspector saw: Four critical violations on June 12. The worst included food stored at incorrect temperatures and the washing machine was not fully sanitizing dishes. Upon follow-up, the person in charge could not explain proper cooking procedures.
  • Follow-up: Failed first follow-up June 23, then passed June 26.
  • Response: Manager did not return calls seeking comment.
Denny’s

3702 E. Irvington Road

  • History: Critical violations found in 2002, remedied in 10 days. Good and excellent inspections until May, when seven critical violations noted.
  • What the inspector saw: On June 6, one critical violation remained: Food stored at incorrect temperatures.
  • Follow-up: Failed June 10 follow-up because reach-in refrigerator hadn’t been repaired, then passed June 13.
  • Response: The cooler has since been fixed and all violations remedied, said Alex Estrada, manager.
Golden China Restaurant

7018 E. Golf Links Road

  • History: Good, excellent or passing since 2000, then four failed inspections in May and June 2014.
  • What the inspector saw: One critical violation: Five live cockroaches, and more dead ones, were found on June 2, and cockroaches “at all stages of life” were observed June 12.
  • Follow-up: Failed follow-up inspection June 12, then passed June 23.
  • Response: Manager did not return calls seeking comment.
Karuna’s Thai Plate

1917 E. Grant Road

  • History: Failed one inspection in 2005, 2006 and 2013, but passed follow-ups.
  • What the inspector saw: After eight violations during a May inspection, the restaurant remedied all problems except too-warm temperatures in the refrigerator. Inspectors told the facility to buy a new refrigerator on June 6.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 17.
  • Response: Manager did not return calls seeking comment.
Marisco’s Chihuahua

2902 E. 22nd Street

  • History: Critical violations found in 2010. Passed follow-up inspection.
  • What the inspector saw: One critical violation identified on June 9: Employees were not properly cooling cooked, potentially hazardous foods.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 19.
  • Response: A manager could not be reached for comment.
Rosa’s Mexican Food

1750 E. Fort Lowell Road

  • History: Critical violations found in 2012, then passed follow-up. Excellent, good or passing inspections otherwise since 2000.
  • What the inspector saw: Two critical violations on June 19: Food stored at incorrect temperatures and cooked food not cooled properly.
  • Follow-up: Failed follow-up June 20, then passed June 23.
  • Response: The food was too warm because the refrigerator had to be serviced, but everything is now fixed, said Jesus Ortega, a server.

Compiled by reporter Emily Bregel from Pima County Health Department records. Contact Bregel at ebregel@tucson.com or 807-7774. On Twitter @EmilyBregel

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