Restaurant Report Card: Italian restaurant gets an ‘F’ for flies

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DENVER -- Café’ Colore in lower downtown earned an “F” on our Restaurant Report Card for 11 critical violations in its last two unannounced health inspections. The restaurant at 1512 Larimer St. failed its May and November inspections.

On November 18, 2013 inspectors found “over 20 small winged flies” in the bar. A Denver health inspector also said foods that are supposed to be held at 41F degrees or less were so warm they had to be thrown out. Those items include:  “9 pans of mozzarella cheese, 9 pans of prosciutto, 9 pans of cooked sausage, and 6 pans of raw salmon and several pans of dressing."

Inspectors also noted that floors were dirty and needed to be cleaned.

We requested an interview with the owner of Café Colore, but they declined our requests to talk about the inspections and sent the following statement instead: “All violations have been addressed and corrected. A re-inspection was done on December 2nd and will show we are in full compliance with all health department standards.”

Our next “F” goes to Fruteria Carniceria La Mexicana located at 706 North Sheridan.  Health inspectors shut down the Denver market for three days on November 5, 2013 after they found 16 violations.

Fruteria & Carniceria la Mexicana at 706 N Sheridan in Denver. Pictures taken in November and December 2013 by Denver Environmental Health Inspector

Fruteria & Carniceria la Mexicana at 706 N Sheridan in Denver. Pictures taken in November and December 2013 by Denver Environmental Health Inspector

Inspectors cited the Fruteria for a whopping 29 critical violations in its November and February inspections.

In November, inspectors found “more than 40 dead and decaying flies…more than 30 rodent droppings…and more than 15 dead roaches…in refrigerators, on floors (and) in traps.”

In February, “A dead mouse was observed under the hand sink….and multiple mouse droppings” were found in various places including the food storage area.   Health experts also said they found moldy cheese and papayas, produce that was not washed and the refrigerator was dirty.

The November report also noted “More than 30 food boxes stacked up along wall and outside of facility.”

An employee who identified himself only as Bruno on the phone agreed to talk to us. But when FOX31 Denver’s investigative reporter Heidi Hemmat stopped at the market for an interview, Bruno was a no-show and no one else would talk about the violations.

LINK: See more health inspection pictures of Fruteria & Carniceria la Mexicana here.

Our “A” of the week goes to Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Lone Tree for no critical violations in its last two regular inspections. The restaurant located at 9992 Commons St. gets the “A” for attention to details.

The general manager of the burger joint, Carson Nugent said, “Our rules are above and beyond anything that the health department would want us to do, or their standards. Ours are five guy’s standards and they’re pretty high.” The restaurant was cited for one non-critical violation.  That violation required new caulking around a sink.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson County and restaurants covered by the Tri-County Health Department. Tri-County health includes Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

An inspection is a “snapshot” of what is happening during the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant could have more or fewer violations than noted in an inspection. Also, at the time of an inspection, violations are recorded and can be corrected prior to the inspector leaving the restaurant. If violations are not corrected, a follow-up inspection is scheduled.

The criteria FOX31 uses to give a restaurant a failing grade includes the evaluation of two un-announced inspections by county health inspectors. A failing restaurant must have five critical violations on their most recent regular inspection and five critical violations on the previous regular inspection. Health inspectors may conduct critical or follow up inspections, due to the number of critical violations found during a regular inspection. Those inspections may also be considered for our reports.

We recognize restaurants with two perfect regular inspections in a row by awarding them an A.

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