Restaurant Report Card: Bar and grill fails for insects in a drawer

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DENVER -- Vinny’s Bar & Grill near DIA earned an “F” on our Restaurant Report Card for 11 critical violations. The restaurant, located at 7101 North Tower Road, failed their regular or unannounced inspections in January of this year and in 2013. On January 27th 2014 inspectors found “five to eight live roaches inside a hot drawer.” Also, this year’s report said the cleaning solution was at “0,” which means it contains zero sanitizer.

An inspector said there is “slime mold on the ice machine” and the kitchens floors were covered in food debris, dirt and grease. We requested an interview with the owner, but he would not comment. Vinnny’s passed a follow up inspection last month.

Our next “F” of the week goes to the Belvedere Restaurant located on 14th Street. The Denver Hill eatery was cited for 14 critical violations in its February of 2014 and September 2013 unannounced inspections. Last month, inspectors found “thick white and green mold” in a jar labeled “pickles.” Inspectors in February also marked that raw tuna was leaking juices onto ready-to-eat soup and chipotle aioli and a chef was observed tending to a cut of meat, bleeding on a towel and continuing to prepare food.

The Department of Environmental Health ordered the staff to deep clean the facility or face closure.  Fox31 Denver’s Heidi Hemmat asked for an interview, but the owner was not available and asked us to leave the restaurant. On March 10th, the restaurant had no violations in a follow up inspection.

And finally, our “A” of the week goes to Pizza Hut in Wheat Ridge for no critical violations in two regular inspections in a row. General Manager Michael Frye credits Pizza Hut’s food safety standards and rigid cleaning schedule.

“We have very high standards and we hold our standards. When you follow procedures every single day, then procedures are not hard to follow,” Frye said.

How Restaurants Appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson county and Tri-county restaurants. 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 un-announced inspections by county health inspectors. A failing restaurant must have 5 critical violations on their most recent regular inspection and 5 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. If a health department does not conduct routine investigations in a timely manner, a restaurant with 10 or more critical violations during a routine inspection may be considered for our report. We recognize restaurants with two perfect regular inspections in a row by awarding them an A.