Macayo's, President Obama's Phoenix Dinner Pick, Only Rated "Silver" in Recent County Health Inspections


The Arizona Republic has already noted that Macayo's, which was President Barack Obama's pick for Mexican food on Saturday night, is not the gold standard of Mexican food in the Valley.

A quick check of Maricopa County's restaurant-inspection Web site shows how true that is. The Central Avenue landmark eatery scored only a "silver" rating in May, the last time county inspectors checked it out. The previous inspection in January also came up silver, one notch shy of the county's top "gold" rating.

We're not saying the First Family was dining on roach parts -- not by a long shot. But a review of the most recent inspections shows a few things weren't up to snuff: Workers had been using a weak cleaning solution. Four cutting boards were heavily scarred and "not easily cleanable." A sink drain in the bar was clogged and concrete near the bar (the same one where Obama's shots came from?) was rough and likely difficult to clean.

The situation was even worse in January: Inspectors saw supposedly clean plates and utensils stored with "dry food debris," there was "black organic matter" (probably mold) in the ice machine and a chicken dish was being stored at a balmy (and potentially hazardous) 57 degrees. Gross!

Those problems were corrected by the time of a re-inspection two weeks later, but the May rating shows Macayo's still struggles to achieve a top rating.

The Central Avenue's catering division also scored a "no award" during an inspection of a Cinco De Mayo event, resulting in the threat of legal action.

Maybe the President's visit will inspire restaurant managers to go for the gold.




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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.