12 Metro Phoenix Restaurants Scored a 'D' on County Health Inspections in July
Every week, the county's health inspectors within Maricopa County Environmental Services give restaurants grades after completing inspections. Participation in the rating system, however, is voluntary, which means owners or managers do not have to accept a grade after an inspection; instead, the restaurants are listed online as "not participating." And in some cases, grades posted online may change, which typically means a restaurant has provided necessary documentation for food safety or fixed a critical issue that led to a low grade. Here's a more detailed explanation.
Last month was rough for a dozen Valley restaurants that couldn't get their acts together in the health and hygiene department. Several violations included employees neglecting to wash their hands, and a couple involved the dreaded cockroach infestation. The violators even included a few high-profile burger joints that even we were surprised to see on this monthly report-of-shame.
Aramark (5005 East McDowell Road)
"Observed raw red meat on shelf in the reach-in by the service area and above salsa. Meat was moved to bottom shelf. Raw foods shall not be shelved over ready to eat foods in order to prevent cross contamination."
Heroes (5940 West Union Hills Drive, Suite E-400, Glendale)
"Food debris build-up on shelving and on door handles to all reach-in coolers on food prep line. Dried food debris splashes on wall behind cold holding units, and behind 3 compartment sink. Material build-up on metal bar inside ice machine not in contact with ice. Food debris build-up inside metal attachment to hand chopper. Discussed proper disassembly and cleaning of equipment with manager. Heavy grease and food litter debris build-up on sides of fryers, wall, floor drain and floor by fryers. Heavy food and litter debris build-up on floors under all cold holding equipment on food prep line, under dry storage shelving in back of kitchen and on floor in warewashing area. Liquid build-up with food floating on bottom shelf on reach-in coolers on food prep line. Instructed manager to clean more frequently to maintain in good sanitary condition."
Fry's Food Store (3036 East Thomas Road)
"A cut chub of lunchmeat bologna was observed in the deli cold case bearing a datemark for discard of 7/13. The initial cut label indicated that the item had been opened on 7/6. Item was embargoed for having been opened for more than seven days. Discussed the counting of the first day for the total seven day shelf life with management. Two additional opened items had no datemark label: half a ham chub and a ziploc bag of ham/turkey slices. These items were also embargoed and discarded."
Quick Korner (1869 West Southern Avenue)
"Ham, salami, turkey, cut tomato, and sliced cheeses in prep cooler were probed with internal temperatures ranging from 46-48 Degrees. Per manager, foods had been in cooler for 1-hour and were moved into walk in liquor cooler. Foods will be left in liquor cooler and be held below 41 Degrees until unit is fixed."
Ralph's Snack Bar No 871 (Ralph's Route #871, West Phoenix)
"Food preparation in mobile food unit is not simplified to reduce excessive steps where food may become contaminated. Carryover items in the refrigerator; cooked beans in saran wrap, sour cream with saran wrap lid, cut tomatoes with saran wrap lid, ham with saran wrap lid, meat patties with saran wrap lid, cooked beans with saran wrap lid, sour cream in opened container, cooked sausage in saran wrap, American cheese in saran wrap, beef in saran wrap, meat in opened bag, cooked rice in opened bag, raw bacon in opened box, cheddar cheese in open bag, chicken in saran wrap, hot dogs in opened package, lunch meat in saran wrap. Items embargoed."
Poncho's Mexican Food (7202 South Central Avenue)
"Dish wash employee was handling clean dishware from warewashing machine without washing his hands after handling dirty dishware. Person in charge (PIC) had dish wash employee wash their hands, and rewash the dishes. Food service employee came from outside the rear entrance and proceeded to cut greens. Stopped food service employee, instructed him to wash his hands, and don gloves. PIC was advised to talk with operator about installing a second handwashing sink, due to establishment only having one in the kitchen area."
Taco Feliz Mexican Food (4233 South Seventh Street)
"Live roach observed on wall near water heater. PIC stated pest control applied every 2 weeks. Most recent receipt for pest control service dated 5/23. Ice scoop stored directly on top of ice machine, which was soiled with dirt and other grit. Ice scoop moved to three compartment sink for cleaning. Discussed proper utensil storage by using tray or inside ice bucket."
Smashburger (2837 North Power Road, #102, Mesa)
"Observed cook use thermocouple probe that was stored in a quaternary ammonium sanitizing solution to verify cooking temperatures without air drying - trained manager and staff on properly washing and sanitizing probe with air drying or using isopropyl alcohol wipes to disinfect probe before placing in foods. Sanitizing chemical can be introduced into foods using the method in-use at time. Tempered water at the hand washing sinks in both men's and women's restrooms found at 85F. Maintain tempered water temperature at 100F at the restroom hand washing sinks."
McDonald's (8849 North Seventh Street)
"Employees were observed handling multiple tasks (bagging food, taking orders, preparing drinks, etc.) and then scooping fries. Several employees were observed using the fry scooper with fries falling outside of the fry sleeve, coming in contact with bare hands, and then falling back into the pile of fries to be served. -Observed raw, shelled eggs sitting out at room temperature with a discard time of 10:30 am. After discard time, employee moved eggs from carton into a new carton to be used under Time as a Control. PIC was notified and eggs were discarded."
Super Subs (668 North 44th Street, #110)
"Establishment has priority violations and no manager certification. Employee could not answer foodborne illness related questions. Observed deli slicer with accumulation of food debris on blade. PIC stated it had not been cleaned since this morning. Instructed PIC to have deli slicer broken apart and washed, rinsed, and sanitized."
Olive Branch Mediterranean Market (3581 West Northern Avenue, #1-7)
"The outdoor grill was operating at time of inspection. No handwashing sink was available outside near the grill. Person in charge stated they have a portable sink that they will be using for outdoor grilling. Outdoor grill has not yet been approved. Person in charge is waiting for approval by the City of Phoenix before they can get approval from Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) for outdoor cooking."
Zipps Sports Grill (3647 East Indian School Road)
"Observed employee switching gloves without washing hands including moments when lettuce was cleaned up off the floor before preparing a salad, and raw hamburger was placed on the griddle manually before switching gloves and proceeding to continue prepping platters. Observed a cockroach under the dishwasher. Manager mentioned roaches had been spotted and appropriate pest control was being sought as well as increased cleaning. Invoice for pest control stated last pest control event was 07/20/2017."
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.