Chili's Grill & Bar, 5150 E. Broadway - photo courtesy of Google earth

From December

History: Since 2000, the chain’s location has received almost only good and excellent inspection ratings. This was its first failed inspection.

What the inspector saw: While the restaurant did not exceed the five priority violation threshold typically used to give probationary ratings, the restaurant has had repeated issues with regulations regarding the cleaning and sanitizing of so-called food contact surfaces. This time around, the inspector found that a  majority of kitchenwares stored as clean were “encrusted with food debris” and that the sanitizing dishwasher was not functioning properly. In the location’s past five inspections, there have been three comparable violations, establishing what the health department considers a pattern of non-conformance, according to an inspection report provided to the Star. Additionally, the inspector observed an employee “eating a piece of food off of a customer’s order before putting the order up to be collected by wait staff,” another “handling raw hamburger” before touching ready-to-eat foods, and raw chicken thawing at room temperature on a countertop.

Follow-up: There was no indication that a follow-up had been conducted by the Star’s deadline.

Response: In written comments provided to the Star, a company spokesperson said that “The health of our guests and team members is always our top priority. We have put together a corrective and preventative action plan and are working closely with the health department to ensure all concerns are addressed.”

Contact: mwoodhouse@tucson.com or 573-4235. On Twitter: @murphywoodhouse