MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - The HIGHEST inspection scores. The LOWEST inspection score.
This week, they're all within a few blocks of each other on one of the Bluff City's most storied avenues.
Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, 2114 Union Ave., fell just one point shy of failure with a 70 on July 8:
"employee wiping face with common towel and handling raw food without washing hands first between glove changes..."
"riblets (at potentially hazardous food temps)"
"chips stored in cracked plastic container"
"flies noted in the prep area"
General manager James Wilson was on vacation, so a duty manager said Action News 5 had to take up Applebee's performance with the corporate office in Kansas.
Applebee's corporate spokesperson Melissa Racer e-mailed this statement to Action News 5:
"Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our guests. We are reviewing current processes and procedures with all employees at this location. Applebee's corrected each reported issue and we are eagerly awaiting a re-inspection."
Wendy's, 1593 Union Ave., landed the highest health inspection score this week with a 95.
Its general manager Hazel Eddins runs a tight ship with a meticulous staff. The place is always clean and efficient, even with a line of customers wrapped around the lobby.
"It's really upscale compared to how it usually is, and the customer service is excellent," said Jarrett Jackson, a South Memphis native ordering a burger while visiting family here away from his home in Florida.
"(It's) because of the training that we receive, and I'm just a people-person, so that's all I can say about that!" bubbled Tina Coins, one of the employees the restaurant's franchisee calls an "all-star."
"I feel we have a great team at our Union Ave. restaurant. They really care about their customers," said John Carlasare, director of operations for Valenti Management.
Less than a block to the east, a former Big Tip winner rated the second highest inspection score with a 94: Wiles-Smith Drug Store.
The oldest independent drug store in Memphis has been a 67-year tradition in Midtown. Three generations of families have slurped its milkshakes and gobbled its deli sandwiches -- in surroundings that really haven't changed in three generations (read the store's original review as a January Big Tip here: http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=11772311).
"Yeah, we love the place!" smiled Bobby Bell of Midtown. "Best milkshakes. Definitely!"
Wiles-Smith Drug Store definitely has a streak of special connections to customers, as well as straight-A inspection scores.
"I certainly wasn't that way in (pharmacy) school," laughed Dr. Charles Smith. "We can talk to the dean about that."
I bet the dean would vouch for Dr. Smith's character and integrity.
Action News 5 does.
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