How Safe is Your Food? 

The Indy reviewed health inspection reports for more than 225 local establishments to find the answer.

Page 4 of 4

Spot check

What else we found while going through hundreds of inspection report

If the main story didn’t preface this enough, it bears repeating: Inspections serve as only a “snapshot” of an establishment on any given day. It does not serve as a damning indictment of a restaurant’s food handling or a shining halo above a chef’s hat. People have off days. People have funny days. People have days that make us want to lose our lunch. Understanding that, here are direct quotes from real inspection reports:

China Bowl
Date: Dec. 8, 2009
Critical violations: 8
Choice quote: “Mouse droppings throughout the facility in multiple locations that indicate significant presence and continued infestation.”
China Bowl’s take: “We did exactly what the inspectors asked us to do,” says Quan He Han, owner of China Bowl for 14 years. “There have been no problems since then. Nothing.” Health officials served China Bowl a “Notice of Violation” on Dec. 15, 2009. A Dec. 21 follow-up inspection noted just two critical violations.

Ciao Mambo
Date: Sept. 17, 2009
Critical violations: 4
Choice quote: “Lots of flies and other insect [sic] now in kitchen!”
Ciao Mambo’s take:
The restaurant offered a “no comment” for this story, but the report explained the kitchen had propped open the door to the back alley for fresh air. A follow-up inspection Sept. 29 showed no critical violations.

El Diablo
Date: Dec. 28, 2009
Critical violations: 3
Choice quote: “Today, staff on the make line routinely needed to pull up pants to keep working and did not wash hands.”
El Diablo’s take: “The guy was wearing shorts that day and had to take off his belt so he could wear an apron,” says owner Mike Eiseman. “He was pulling up his shorts with his wrists. It wasn’t a big deal.”

Fiesta en Jalisco
Date: May 25, 2010
Critical violations: 7
Choice quote: “A bin of hamburger patties are showing a very distinct ‘green’ color to the meat. The green color is almost a grass-like color and not typical for meats getting old. The patties were discarded…”
Fiesta’s take: A call for comment was not returned before press time.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

The Keep
Date: June 11, 2009
Critical violations: 5
Choice quote: “Glove use... wow...Lots of nose touching, face touching, etc…”
The Keep’s take: The Independent reached a manager, but he did not return our call with a comment before press time.

Little Caesars on N. Reserve Street
Date: March 11, 2010
Critical violations: 4
Choice quote: “Staff has what appears to be a boil or inflamed eruption near the eye and is the primary food handler.”
Little Caesar’s take: No comment.

Outback Steakhouse
Date: April 20, 2009
Critical violations: 4
Choice quote: “I am seeing general debris all over the kitchen. I understand how busy establishments can be…Why I am concerned is the following: I am seeing where the debris is falling into food and clean dishes. This is a source of contamination.”
Outback’s take: “It was a minor issue and I don’t really remember what the debris was that she was referencing,” says kitchen manager Greg Leitner. “I can assure you that whatever problems the Health Department found, we corrected them as soon as possible. We work with them, not against them. We consider them our partner.”

Paul’s Pancake Parlor
Date: Dec. 11, 2009
Critical violations: 7
Choice quote: “Today I found a dead mouse hanging out of one of your live traps and another trap underneath the shelving in your dry storage area with a lot of dust on the top of it. This latter trap obviously hasn’t been checked recently…Dispose of mice immediately.”
Paul’s take: “It was a total fluke,” explains owner Mike Ramos. “We hired a new pest control company that didn’t know where the old pest control company kept its traps. The old company should’ve removed all their traps, but they didn’t. We’ve never had another issue.”

Viva Mexico
Date: May 18, 2010
Critical violations: 9
Choice quote: “Sergio [the owner] was smoking a cigarette when I came in to do the inspection. Another cigarette butt was in the hand sink. Smoking is strictly prohibited while preparing foods, but also is illegal per the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act.”
Viva’s take: The owner did not return a call for comment before press time.
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