Restaurant News

A Mattress in the Kitchen and More Details From the March Restaurant D-List

There is no shortage of medicine bottles being stored above food.
There is no shortage of medicine bottles being stored above food. Myriam Zilles/Unsplash
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 hand-pick observations from the weekly reports, listed below.

Dragon Flame Chinese Grill

909 East Lemon Street, Tempe

"Pallet of raw eggs stored above produce and ready to eat foods. Also observed a plastic bag of thawing beef stored above produce."

"In all freezers, observed multiple raw animal proteins including beef and chicken stored in plastic shopping bags. Discussed that plastic shopper style bags are not a suitable and safe food contact surface and may allow for the migration of deleterious substances into the food."


1610 North 75th Avenue, #106

"Observed food handling employee remove gloves, touch cash register, touch pants/apron and face mask then proceed to touch clean bottles and a package of mayo."

"Observed 2 cans of "odor scent/air fresheners" placed on top of a soda bag box in the back kitchen space."

Donut Shoppe

2929 North 75th Avenue, #29

"Observed personal food (raw pork chorizo) stored above produce and shredded cheese which is used for the donut shoppe. Also observed raw shelled eggs stored above bags of lettuce used for the donut shoppe."

"Observed multiple employee personal medicine bottles (prescription pills, theraflu, XL-3/cough/flu medicine) stored on a wire shelf above food, and food prep table."

"Observed a sleeping arrangement (mattress/ cushion with blankets and a pillow on top of crates) in the back kitchen space opposite of the sandwich prep cooler under a non-working hood."

Machetes Azteca Mexican Grill

6709 West Indian School Road

"Observed an open basket/ bowl with employee medicine bottles inside stored above the bag of open flour, among other dry spices. Also observed employee vitamins stored on a prep table near open food containers of cilantro and garlic."

"Observed a floor sink near the front service area which the hand sink, freezer and ice making machine all drained into. This floor sink was flooded with sewage."


1900 East Fifth Street, Tempe

"In the drawer cooler below the range, observed raw eggs stored above ready to eat pasta, garlic, tofu and chicken."

"In the three compartment sink, observed dishes being sanitized in a solution containing 0ppm quat. Upon further inspection, the person in charge (PIC) discovered the dispenser had run out and refilled the dispenser."

Ramiro's Mexican Food

3329 East Bell Road, #19

"Observed employee handling raw shrimp and cracking raw shell eggs before changing gloves without washing hands to handling ready to eat food items."

"Observed uncovered containers of raw beef and raw chorizo being stored on shelf above cooked beef, veggies and ham in bottom of prep top cooler."

Thai Basil

1111 South Rural Road, Tempe

"In the small prep fridge on the back wall adjacent to the grill, observed a plastic wrapped metal bowl of raw salmon stacked directly on top of a bowl of cooked duck and stored above ready to eat foods including cabbage, lettuce and carrots."

"On the middle shelf of the reach in cooler near the cash register, observed codeine cough syrup and pepto-bismol stored above various drinks, custard and lemon slices. On the shelf above the large prep table in a plastic bin, observed a tube of cortisone cream."

Amada’s Mexican Food

2729 South Alma School Road, Mesa

"Observed employee drink beverage then return to cutting tripas without washing hands."

"Observed cooked potatoes holding between 112-130 *F in container on flat top grill. Container was observed warped and only the center was touching the heat source. Potatoes were reheated to 165 *F and placed in a double boiler for better heat circulation."

Sahuaro's Taco Shop

2828 South Country Club Drive, #8, Mesa

"Observed employee bring dirty dishes to 3 compartment sink, rinse gloved hand then proceed to handle taco shells."

"Observed mop sink half filled with water and not draining at the time of inspection."

Pita Jungle

5025 South Gilbert Road, #8, Chandler

"Observed tzatziki and tahini sauce holding at 50*F-58*F that were in small plastic containers in a larger metal container on ice in the front prep area for the servers."

"Observed beans in the hot well on the line that were holding at at 100*F-121*F."

Genies G Family Restaurant

7349 West Indian School Road

"Observed raw bacon in walk-in cooler on wire rack stored above ready to eat foods (lemons). No visible contamination or dripping of raw bacon onto RTE foods."

"Observed ready to eat ham in reach in refrigeration unit near the prep line to be at a temperature of 44 F."

Waba Grill

555 North Scottsdale Road, #101, Temp
"In the small reach in near the grill, observed a covered metal pan raw salmon stored above a covered metal pan of ready to eat potstickers."

"Establishment is using quat and chlorine sanitizers but PIC could not locate test strips. The manager later provided quat test strips which were ineffective due to water damage and had expired in 2020."


933 East University Drive, #106, Tempe

"In the walk in cooler on the speed rack, observe raw breaded chicken cutlets stored above cooked jalapenos, and ready to eat pakoras. In the prep style fridge near the cooking area, observed a bag of frozen swai fished stored above various ready to eat foods."

"In the small non-commercial style refrigerator next to the prep sink, observed an ambient air temperature of 39*F. Observed cooked chicken at 45*F, cooked potato at 44*F, and mashed chickpeas at 52*F. Observed a sticker on the outside of the cooler that states "not for long term food storage."
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano