Restaurant News

Now’s Not the Time to Neglect Handwashing: The February Restaurant D-List

Watch those date marks.
Watch those date marks. Tom Carlson
Every week, the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department grades restaurants after completing routine health inspections. A D grade means the establishment has committed three or more "priority item" violations (which can directly contribute to increasing the risk of foodborne illness or injury, according to the MCESD) or four or more "priority foundation item" violations (which are indirect). At the beginning of each month, Phoenix New Times rounds up the restaurants that received a D grade the previous month and excerpts hand-picked observations from the weekly reports, listed below.

Renaissance Phoenix Downtown

100 North First Street

“Observed an employee handling cherry tomatoes with their bare hands, and per the employee, these cherry tomatoes would not be cooked before being served. Had PIC discard all of the cherry tomatoes that they had touched with their bare hands.”

“In a reach-in fridge, observed an opened package of pepper jack cheese, an opened bottle of cows milk, and an opened bottle of heavy cream, all with no date marks.”

Phil’s Filling Station Grill

16852 East Parkview Avenue, Fountain Hills

“In walk in cooler, plastic packaged raw beef, plastic packaged raw chicken, and plastic packaged raw pork all stored together and touching on same sheet pan.”

“In walk in freezer, food product stored on ground. Instructed manager to move all food product at least 6 inches off of ground to prevent contamination.”

Flamingo Palace

350 East Bell Road, Suite J101

“Observed employee dumping used mop water into dirt and bushes behind building due to clogged mop sink.”

“Ice scoop at servers' station being stored in ice bin with handle in contact with ice. Please ensure utensils are stored in a way that will not contaminate food between uses.”

Fat Tuesday

6751 North Sunset Boulevard, Suite E-113, Glendale

“Observed employee wash hands in kitchen handwashing sink and dry hands on visibly soiled apron.”

“Observed large chunks cooked beef in back section of hot holding well at 98-102 degrees F. Per kitchen manager, beef was reheated this morning at around 11 am (5 hours prior to inspection). When brought to attention, beef was discarded. Ensure proper hot holding temperatures of 135 degrees F or more at all times.”

Oaxaca Restaurant

2330 West Bethany Home Road, #119

“Observed food service employee cutting cooked beef with bare hands, then place the cooked beef in a holding pan to be used in burritos.”

“Observed food service employee using latex gloves while handling food in kitchen. Advised person in charge (PIC) that latex gloves shall not be used to due to possible customer latex allergies. Vinyl type gloves are safe to wear when handling foods.”

All Pierogi Kitchen

1245 West Baseline Road, #101, Mesa

“Observed shelves near stove in prep kitchen with heavy buildup of pan spray. … Floors behind stand mixers and oven were observed with buildup of food debris and grease.”

“Observe employee wash and rinse tongs then place in sanitizer for only a 2-3 second contact time before removing.”

Ralph’s Snack Bar No. 815


“Observed raw shelled stored above ready to eat shredded cheese inside the refrigerator. Cook moved raw shelled eggs to the bottom portion of the refrigerator and moved the shredded cheese to the upper portion of the rack.”

“The operator did not demonstrate knowledge regarding foodborne illness safety and symptoms.”

click to enlarge But first, wash your hands. - LINDSAY MOORE
But first, wash your hands.
Lindsay Moore

Mi Amigos

1264 South Gilbert Road, Mesa

“Observed employee handle tongs for raw chicken with gloved hands then place tongs down where contact of chicken had occurred and not remove gloves to wash hands.”

“Observed drain flies in dishwashing area and in mop sink area.”

Majerle’s Sports Grill No. 2

3095 West Chandler Boulevard, Chandler

“Observed container of raw chicken stored above container of raw shrimp in walk-in refrigerator. The shrimp was moved the shelf above the chicken. Since raw chicken has a higher minimum cooking temperature than raw shrimp, the chicken must be placed on the lower shelf to prevent cross contamination.”

“Observed various deli meats (cooked ham, pastrami, etc...) in the walk-in refrigerator and prep refrigerators with a prep date of 2/7 (total of 9 days). These items were embargoed since they were kept past the maximum allowable 7 day period.”

Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup

4031 East Camelback Road

“At time of inspection an employee was observed filling a pitcher of water using the handwashing sink. PIC was advised that handwashing sinks are to be used only for handwashing and that water is required to be filled at the prep sink.”

“Large number of fruit flies observed near mop sink area. PIC stated that pest control only comes in once a month.”

Del Taco

1864 South Country Club Drive, Mesa

“Observed a dicer stored clean in the back of the establishment under the prep sink with food debris in between the blades.”

“Observed a side kick attached to the mop sink faucet with a hose connected to the chemical dispenser. PIC, removed the side kick at the time of inspection. Discussed with PIC, to not use any attachments downstream of the AVB, and to directly connect a hose from the mop sink faucet to a chemical dispenser.”


2333 South Val Vista Drive, Gilbert

“Observed employee running the drive through handling peoples money and debit cards and then making drinks without any handwash.”

“Observed employee receive a personal cup from a customer through the window, placing the cut IN the ice machine where the bottom of the cup is touching the ice, filled the cup up with the ice and then returned it back to the customer.”

El Autentico

5609 East McKellips Road, #101, Mesa

“Observed salsa in prep table dated 2/14 (5 days past discard date). PIC discarded at time of inspection.”

“Observed three instances of raw proteins being stored above and/or in front of RTE foods. Raw beef was stored above tomatoes, onions, and opened container full of plantains. PIC moved raw beef to bottom shelf, separate from RTE foods.”
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Bri Arreguin-Malloy is Phoenix New Times' social media editor. As a Tucson native, she's been exiled from the city after attending Arizona State University. She enjoys going to grocery stores, scrounging the depths of Instagram for memes, and talking about her cat.