Andy's Rest. Scorecard: All-Time FAIL! - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Rest. Scorecard: All-Time FAIL!

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By Andy Wise - bio | email | Facebook

MIDTOWN MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - A Chinese buffet with a year-long history of health code violations landed the lowest inspection score ever reported on the Scorecard.

Nov. 29, New Dragon China, 1680 Madison Ave., rated a 46 on its Memphis/Shelby County health inspection with eight critical violations, including but not limited to:

"Chicken on a stick (at unsafe food temp)"

"prep table sitting next to hand sink (with no splash guard)"

"employee washing dishes without sanitizer"

"waste water leak at handsink...leaking back flow device at mop sink"

"mold build-up inside of ice machine"

"employee entered into prep area from dining area ...handled drinking glasses by drying them with a cloth without first washing hands..."

A health department environmentalist also cited New Dragon China for operating without a food permit. Its current permit expired July 1, according to health department records.

In March, the health department revoked New Dragon China's previous food permit after it failed four inspections in a 7-month period. (For the Scorecard reports on those inspections, please click on these links:  http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12202489 and http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12123741).

At the time, owner Ken Dong blamed the establishment's problems on an aging building, despite several food and employee sanitation citations.

"The building's kind of old, and a lot of...not repair, but a lot of renovations are needed," said Dong.

Dong applied for a new permit, received a new establishment number, completed renovations, then turned New Dragon China over to new owner Bao Xing Zheng in May, according to health records and Otho Sawyer, the health department's assistant manager of environmental sanitation.

"They had started with a clean slate," said Sawyer. "By us revoking the permit, the new score -- the 46 score -- is applied to a new establishment number, so technically, the (older) scores go away."

But Sawyer said Zheng failed to renew the new permit when it expired. New Dragon China operated without a permit to prepare and serve food from approximately July 1 to Nov. 29, when a health inspector discovered the unpaid permit fees after conducting the inspection that led to the 46 rating.

Sawyer said Zheng paid $540, including $180 in late fees, to renew the permit.

Action News 5 asked Sawyer how New Dragon China can remain in business with such a track record of health violations.

"The issue would be if they continue to operate in that manner with repeated 'criticals' after this," he said.

Zheng could not be reached for comment. Messages left with Dong, who still works at the restaurant, were unanswered.

Mitch Jacobs, a loyal New Dragon China customer from Cordova, TN, who's patronized the buffet for four years, said his loyalty won't change despite the restaurant's track record.

"The food's always been good, and the people have always been nice," Jacobs said. "It hasn't been an issue for me."

"I didn't know it had health issues or anything like that, but now that we know, I'm definitely not going to come back," said customer Ammar Ammar of Bartlett, TN. "I think it's the last time I'm going to eat here."

HIGH SCORES OF THE WEEK:

Three Memphis/Shelby County restaurants tied for the high score with a 98:

Banks Restaurant, 5218 Millbranch Rd., Whitehaven, Memphis, TN

Super Suppers, 2130 W. Poplar Ave., Suite 105, Collierville, TN

Ralph's Bar & Grill, 5162 Millbranch Rd.,  Whitehaven, Memphis, TN 

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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