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19 Metro Phoenix Restaurants Scored a 'D' on County Health Inspections in August

Sonic Logo
Sonic Logo Sonic

Every week, the county's health inspectors within Maricopa County Environmental Services give restaurants grades after completing inspections. Participation in the rating system, however, is voluntary, which means owners or managers do not have to accept a grade after an inspection; instead, the restaurants are listed online as "not participating." And in some cases, grades posted online may change, which typically means a restaurant has provided necessary documentation for food safety or fixed a critical issue that led to a low grade. Here's a more detailed explanation.

Big names earned awful grades in the August 2017 round of health inspections. One would think that, given the resources these massive brands have, the big guys would have it together enough to pass a simple health-code check. Nope. With 19 metro Phoenix restaurants scoring D grades, it wasn't a good month for food safety in the Valley.

Sonic (2935 South Dobson Road, Mesa)
"Freezer next to grill holding raw hamburger patties was not cold enough on bottom to keep hamburgers frozen. Patties on the bottom had thawed and were 52 degrees F. It was unknown how long patties had been thawed so they were discarded."

Denny's (3205 East Bell Road)
"The cook placed frozen fish on the grill using his hands and then changed his gloves without washing his hands and worked with exposed ready to eat food (cooked chicken strips)."

IHOP (8950 East Mountain View Road, Scottsdale)
"On cook line on two different magnetic knife strips, knives stored with accumulation of food debris on blades. Per employee, knives are stored as clean on magnetic knife strip. Knives were moved to be re-washed, rinsed, and sanitized."


Wal-Mart (1916 South Lindsay Road, Mesa)
"Observed slicer on countertop that per PIC had not been used during the day with accumulation of organic food debris on slicer. Instructed PIC that slicers must be cleaned every 4 hours when in use and at least daily and prior to be stored away as cleaned or able to be used."

7-Eleven (4748 East Van Buren Street)
"Observed beef hot dogs, beef steak and cheese and chicken and Monterey jack taquitos with internal temperatures ranging from 53'F-55'F in small salsa bar cooler by soda machine. PIC stated food had been there since Saturday and food was discarded."

Fry's (20220 North 59th Avenue, Glendale)
"Three staff members handling the phone, placing packages of meat out in units and touching hair and then applying gloves to help retrieve meat and seafood from cold holding cases for customers without washing hands."

Chili's Bar and Grill (6648 East McKellips Road, Mesa)
"Organic matter build up in ice machine. Ensure thorough and frequent cleaning of equipment to prevent build up."


Taqueria Lo Korita (4131 North 27th Avenue)
"A knife stored as clean on the magnetic strip and deli slicer on prep table also stored as clean had dried food debris encrusted to the blades. Employee moved knives and deli slicer to three compartment sink to be washed, rinsed, and sanitized."

Pozoleria Mexican Food (2801 East Van Buren Street)
"Delivery person also came at time of inspection and had placed raw fish above produce and ready-to-eat food items."

D'lish Drive Thru (2613 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale)
"Food items observed out of temperature; Rice (47*F), Sausage (45*F), Hummus (47*F), and tuna salad (48*F) were observed at one of the sandwich prep tables. An employee indicated that the TCS food items had been at the prep cooler for 2 hours. The employee was instructed to take the items back to the walk in cooler which had an ambient temperature of (38*F) for rapid cooling."

Federico's Mexican Food (6680 West Peoria Avenue, Glendale)
ÔÇťObserved half-eaten plate of food, that was employee's lunch, on top of prep table next to where tomatoes were being chopped. Employee discarded food and cleaned area at time of inspection. Reviewed that all employee food should be consumed outside of the kitchen."

Star K (3202 East Van Buren Street)
"Observed pink slime mold in ice machine."


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Chris Malloy, former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world's margins.
Contact: Chris Malloy