A restaurant recently chosen by Arizona Daily Star readers as the most romantic place was among four local eateries that failed health inspections in March.
All passed follow-up inspections. Here’s what you need to know.
10355 N. La Cañada Drive
- History: Rated “good” by health inspectors since 2011. Chosen by Star readers in February as the most romantic dining in Tucson.
- What the inspector saw: Six critical violations on March 6. The most serious were dirty cooking utensils, workers putting food on plates with their bare hands and foods kept at the wrong temperatures.
- Follow-up: Passed March 18.
- Response: “The areas that we did not pass on the day of inspection were due to the actions of a single employee who did not follow our regular procedures and caused the violations,” owner Reza Shapouri said in an email. “The employee was corrected and we are back operating in the way we’ve always been with the utmost regard for food safety.”
Taqueria Pico de Gallo
2618 S. Sixth Ave.
- History: Failed, then passed, inspection last year.
- What the inspector saw: Six critical violations on March 31. The most serious were mouse droppings on “clean” dishes, around 20 dead cockroaches in the pantry, and foods kept at the wrong temperatures. “Deep clean the facility,” the inspector ordered on the inspection report.
- Follow-up: Failed April 10 after the inspector noticed new violations, including workers handling food with their bare hands and live cockroaches in a basement pantry. “There are assorted utensils with encrusted debris on them stored in a bucket with mouse droppings in it,” the inspector noted. Passed re-inspection April 21 after cleaning and pest-control treatments.
- Response: An owner or manager could not be reached for comment.
1202 W. Niagara St.
- History: Rated “good” or “excellent” since 2006. Chosen by Star readers in 2009 as the best hot-dog stand in town.
- What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on March 5. The most serious were employees using a utility sink to wash their hands because the hand-washing sink was broken, and workers preparing food with their bare hands.
- Follow-up: Failed March 16. Passed March 27.
- Response: Owner Carlos Hernandez said a new sink was installed.
Shane’s Rib Shack
4500 N. Oracle Road
- History: Rated “excellent” since 2011.
- What the inspector saw: Eight critical violations on March 11. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, dirty dishes and utensils, and incorrect procedures for thawing meat.
- Follow-up: Passed March 20.
- Response: Manager Russell Mercado said all the kitchen equipment was restored to health-department standards. Thawing procedures were posted, he said, and employees were retrained in food safety.