Sky Harbor Named "Healthiest Airport," but Some of Its Restaurants are Filthy

How's this for ironic: Just days after Health magazine reports that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is America's "Healthiest" airport, local Channel 15 (KNXV) broadcasts a report on how the airport's restaurants have been cited for numerous health code violations since 2006.

We're big fans of these Maricopa County health inspector reports, and have thought twice about eating at places that have cleanliness standards that seem to verge on medieval. You have to look closely at the reports and not just the failing grades, because breaking some of the technical rules don't always mean something disgusting was actually served to someone.

But the Channel 15 article includes some evidence of real filth:

*Rodent droppings at the Pizza Hut.

*Black mold in ice machines and "filthy soda nozzles" at some establishments.

The problems are usually fixed after being noticed by inspectors, but still...

At least, according to Health, there are some tasty, low-fat offerings. The magazine's article specifically mentions Arizona Roadhouse 66 and Oaxaca Grill, both of which have received several health code violations, a quick review of county records shows.

We're not saying these aren't decent establishments: Despite the violations, Roadhouse merits a "gold" rating, and Oaxaca averages a "silver."

Still, it does prove healthy is sometimes in the eye of the beholder -- or the inspector. -- Ray Stern

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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.
Contact: Ray Stern