MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - Fire up the backyard grill or pack a sack lunch. This week was a BAD week for eating out.
SIX restaurants failed their health inspections. Three failed their follow-up inspections.
New Dragon China, 1680 Madison Ave, failed its follow-up with the same score it received the first time, a 64:
Shrimp & chicken at "potentially hazardous food temps"
Poor hand-washing hygiene
"waste water leak" in the men's room
The folks didn't hang up on me this time. This time, they slammed the door in my face.
But the health department informed us Dragon China fixed the waste water leak in the bathroom. Health officials also said the joint has brushed up on its food temperature guidelines, and hey -- the employees are washing their hands now, apparently!
On its third inspection in two weeks, Dragon China improved to an 87.
Grand Buffet, 7954 Hwy. 51 in Millington, TN, failed its follow-up with a 52:
"No hot water at hand sink"
BBQ chicken and hot dogs at "potentially dangerous food temps"
Broken rear door that can let bugs in
Lucky for Grand Buffet, it had its third inspection right before Action News 5 arrived. The inspector's report indicated the critical items - the sink, the door, the food temperatures -- had either been fixed or addressed to the inspector's satisfaction. The report even said, "Keep up the good work."
Worker harder, Grand Buffet. You still rated a 76 on the third inspection.
Blue Plate Cafe, 5469 Poplar Ave., failed back-to-back inspections with a 67 and 69:
Ham, fish and beef all at unsafe temperatures
Employees not washing their hands before prepping food
The inspector recommended the employees take "food safety classes"
Owner Mike Richmond declined Action News 5's request for an interview. On the phone, he said his employees corrected 14 of 19 listed violations on re-inspection, but he said the inspector would not issue a passing score until all of the violations were corrected. Blue Plate Cafe rated an 86 on its third attempt.
El Porton Mexican Restaurant, 65 S. Highland Ave., failed with a 64:
Inspector ordered rice, beef & tamales "discarded" for unsafe temperatures
An employee "...touched food to check temperatures without washing hands."
"mold growth in ice machines and ice chutes"
Manager Maricela Mata invited us in for our own inspection. She said her cooks are now following more stringent food temperature guidelines. Every nozzle, every ice chute, every ice chest was removed, emptied, scrubbed and sanitized.
"The employees were not doing the proper job," she admitted. El Porton on Highland rated an 82 on re-inspection.
Dixie Queen, 6769 E. Shelby Dr., failed with a 67:
"Mildew buildup" in the ice dispensers
"Food uncovered" in the walk-in cooler
The men's room had "no paper towels"
The women's room had "no soap"
Manager Lisa Elliott met me at the cash register with a written statement:
"First, I would like to apologize to all our customers for any inconvenience this may have caused. However, I am glad to say that we have been re-inspected, and our score has been upgraded to 80. We truly value our customers and hope you continue to dine with us."
Saito Restaurant, 6600 Stage Rd. in Bartlett, TN, just missed a passing grade with a 69:
The word "dirty" appears 13 times in the inspection report
"Insects killer stored on same shelf as (food) utensils"
"Ice machine moldy inside"
"Gnats in the wait station"
Manager Anna Nguyen declined our requests for an interview and for our own inspection. She said her staff corrected every critical violation. Saito's follow up score: 83.
For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, click here.
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