Restaurant Report Card: Downtown Denver hotel cited for cockroach issue

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DENVER -- Denver Marriott City Center calls itself a luxury hotel, but health inspectors found some un-invited guests staying there too.

The Denver Marriott City Center, located at 1701 California Street earned an “F” on our Restaurant Report card for 15 critical health code violations. Inspectors cited the restaurant for those violations during routine inspections in October and April 2013.

In October, an inspector “observed one live cockroach crawling below the banquet kitchen dish machine…” The inspector also “observed boxes of frozen foods and produce stored on the … floor.”

In the report, inspectors noted the sanitizer was so strong it was toxic.  And several food items including six pans of sliced cheese, nine pans of dressing and eight cartons of liquid eggs were too warm and had to be thrown out.

The Denver Health Department ordered the staff to deep clean the facility.

The Denver Marriott’s general manager refused our requests for an on camera interview and instead sent the following statement: “We have corrected all matters identified in the inspection report and are taking the appropriate steps to prevent this situation from happening again.”

Our next “F” goes to Taco Mex at 3780 Peoria Street in Denver.

The Mexican Restaurant accumulated 12 critical violations in its February and August inspections from last year.

Among the mistakes was “a fly swatter in the sink.”  In August, inspectors said there was no hot water in the sink.

In February, inspectors found “raw hamburgers were stored above shredded cheese, cabbage and lettuce.”  And, sugar wafers were stored under unprotected plumbing.

The inspector said the solution used to clean the cook line contained no sanitizer and the facility was using garbage containers for food storage.

We left repeated messages at the restaurant, but our calls were not returned and when we stopped by, FOX31 Denver Investigative reporter Heidi Hemmat asked workers, “Is there someone here who we can talk to about the bad health inspections you’ve had? Are you the owner?” No one at the restaurant would talk.

A French bakery rises to the top.  A grade “A” goes to Katherine’s French Bakery and Café on South University for back-to-back perfect inspections.

Owner Mario Arua said, “Every single day we have to keep it clean and sanitation. That’s important for the food service.” Mario and wife Katherine said their standards are stricter than the health departments.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson County and Restaurants in the Tri-County Health Department's jurisdiction. The Tri-County Health Department 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 unannounced 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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