Chow Bella

Don't Be Fooled by "Super" Names -- These Eateries Were Super-Dirty

Of the six dirtiest eateries on Maricopa County's latest restaurant-inspection list, three have the word "super" in their names.


Call it a not-so-delicious irony.

At the very bottom of the list of 1,086 food joints is the restaurant of La Mexicana Super Carniceria at 5045 West Thomas Road in Phoenix, where an inspection on March 1 revealed serious storage problems: Onions stored on the floor, meat stored in direct contact with cardboard boxes and salsa being stored at a balmy 77 degrees. Of the 612 Valley eateries with a "no award" designation for this week, Super Carniceria received the lowest score.

Only one notch higher on the latest list, meanwhile, was #1 Eastern Super Buffet at 1901 South Signal Butte Road in Mesa, which has been suffering a serious container problem.

Oh, they have lots of food storage containers -- but they're full of cracks, burns and holes. The recycling experts at #1 Eastern have come up with ingenious -- and disgusting -- work-arounds. They've got terayaki sauce stored in ketchup containers, "brown sauce" stored in plastic Folger's coffee containers, Kikkoman soy sauce buckets being used to store sanitizing solution and, worst of all, raw flour stored in laundry detergent containers. All this makes their fly problem seem rather minor.

Super L Ranch Market at 688 North 44th Street in Phoenix was sixth from the bottom, earning its no award with a variety of problems. The early March inspection revealed no soap at the employees' sink, a cooler maintaining food at a not-so-cold temperature of 55 degrees, a raw beef intestine thawing improperly in standing water and "clean" dishes being stored on the sink. Particularly revolting was how Super L had been storing raw meat in the eatery's plastic to-go bags. (We can only hope employees didn't re-use those bags for to-go orders.)

Let's hope the sequel of this "super" movie is squeaky-clean.

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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.