13 Tucson restaurants fail health inspections; 8 go on to pass

2014-06-15T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T10:20:34Z 13 Tucson restaurants fail health inspections; 8 go on to passBy Becky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Thirteen local eateries failed health inspections in May.

Many violated rules that aim to prevent food poisoning by keeping food hot or cold enough and by keeping germs off the hands of cook staff. Here’s what you need to know.

Golden China Restaurant 

7018 E. Golf Links Road 

  • History: Rated “good” or “excellent” for the past 10 years.
  • What the inspector saw: Someone complained to the health department about finding a cockroach in her to-go lunch. An inspector saw six critical violations on May 1. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, workers not washing their hands, dirty cooking tools and soda nozzles, and cockroaches in the kitchen.
  • Follow-up: Failed four follow-up inspections. The restaurant will be put on an intervention program, with specific steps to take to bring the restaurant into compliance with the health code, said Jeff Terrell, a program manager at the Pima County Health Department. 
  • Restaurant’s response: Two messages were not returned.
Ali Baba Restaurant 

2545 E. Speedway 

  • History: Rated “needs improvement” last year and previously failed inspections in 2011 and 2012.
  • What the inspector saw: Eight critical violations on May 1. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, employees washing their hands without using soap, and “accumulating filth” in the kitchen.
  • Follow-up: Passed May 12.
  • Response: Two messages were not returned.
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar 

4625 E. Grant Road 

  • History: Rated “good” or “excellent” for the past 10 years.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 7. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, dirty dishes put away as if clean, and no sanitizer in the dishwasher.
  • Follow-up: Passed May 16.
  • Response: A manager who declined to give his name said the problems all have been corrected.
Chopstix Fine Dining II 

8225 N. Courtney Page Way 

  • History: Previously rated “needs improvement” in 2011. Rated “good” or “excellent” since.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 6. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, improper hand-washing and dirty knives.
  • Follow-up: Passed May 16.
  • Response: Two messages were not returned.
Church’s Chicken 

7090 E. Golf Links Road 

  • History: Rated “good” or “excellent” for the past five years.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 22. The most serious were food kept at the wrong temperatures, employees using hand sanitizer instead of washing their hands, sanitizer water dripping from clean dishes into containers of coleslaw, and “grease and food debris build-up” in the kitchen.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 2.
  • Response: Shift leader Maria Ayala said the staff was re-trained on food safety, a sink was replaced and other problems with the building were corrected. 
Circle K 

3700 W. Orange Grove Road 

  • History: Rated “needs improvement” in 2012 and 2010.
  • What the inspector saw: One critical violation on May 14, resulting in a “needs improvement” rating. There was no hand-washing sink for workers who prepare hot dogs and sandwiches. The only sink was in the bathroom.
  • Follow-up: Failed May 24 because a new sink hadn’t yet been installed.
  • Response: A Circle K spokesman did not immediately respond to the Star’s request for comment.
Curry Leaf Indian Restaurant 

2510 E. Grant Road 

  • History: Rated “needs improvement” in 2013 and failed an inspection in 2012.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 27. The most serious were foods stored at the wrong temperatures, improper hand-washing and workers handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands.
  • Follow-up: Passed June 6.
  • Response: Two messages were not returned.
Denny’s 

3702 E. Irvington Road 

  • History: Rated “good” or “excellent” for the past 10 years.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 27. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, improper hand-washing and dirty cooking tools. None of the workers were trained in food safety.
  • Follow-up: Failed June 6.
  • Response: The general manager declined to comment.
Jun Dynasty 

2833 E. Grant Road 

  • History: Rated “good” after opening last year.
  • What the inspector saw: Six critical violations on May 15. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures, a worker handling raw meat and then handling customers’ plates without washing his hands, raw chicken thawing atop a bucket of dirty water at the mop sink, and “excessive flies.”
  • Follow-up: Passed May 27.
  • Response: Two messages were not returned.
Karuna’s Thai Plate 

1917 E. Grant Road 

  • History: Failed an inspection last year.
  • What the inspector saw: Eight critical violations on May 14. The most serious were food kept at the wrong temperatures, improper handwashing and shrimp thawing atop dirty dishes in the dishwashing sink. The inspector ordered the staff to take food-safety training.
  • Follow-up: Failed two follow-up inspections.
  • Response: A message was not returned.
Marisco’s Chihuahua 

2902 E. 22nd St. 

  • History: Failed an inspection in 2010. Rated “good” or “excellent” since.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 29. The most serious were food kept at the wrong temperatures due to a broken refrigerator, and improper handwashing.
  • Follow-up: Failed June 9.
  • Response: An owner or manager could not be reached for comment.
Nico’s Mexican Food 

1616 E. 22nd St. 

  • History: Rated “good” or “excellent” for the past five years.
  • What the inspector saw: Seven critical violations on May 19. The most serious were food kept at the wrong temperatures due to a broken refrigerator, and a cook who didn’t wash his hands between handling raw chorizo and ready-to-eat burritos.
  • Follow-up: Failed May 29. Passed June 10.
  • Response: One message was not returned. On a second call, an employee hung up the phone.
The Taco Shop Co. 

1350 E. Broadway 

  • History: Rated “good” or “excellent” for the past four years.
  • What the inspector saw: Six critical violations on May 6. The most serious were foods kept at the wrong temperatures and improper hand-washing.
  • Follow-up: Passed May 14.
  • Response: “We corrected it within 10 days, and we did maintenance on all the refrigerators,” said owner Joe Facio. 

Compiled by reporter Becky Pallack from Pima County Health Department records. Contact Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4251. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.

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