Restaurant Report Card: ‘F’ stands for ‘feces’

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In this week's Restaurant Report Card, a Centennial Restaurant named for being cool fails for what was too hot. A Littleton restaurant gets an "F," and in this case the "F" stands for "feces," and a Denver restaurant that's been in business for decades shares the secret to its success.

Finn McCool's

Health inspectors were concerned with Finn McCool's  "McFlies."

The restaurant at 8880 E. Arapahoe Rd. in Centennial gets an "F" for 13 critical violations in its November 2013 and February 2014 unannounced inspections. Inspectors cited violations including fruit flies in the liquor and a fly strip hanging over a bin of flour.

An inspector also noted that steak, chicken and tzatziki sauce that are supposed to be kept at 41 degrees or less were as warm as 61 degrees. That's considered an "unsafe" temperature.

Additionally, inspectors found raw meats stored on top of ready to eat foods, and the soda guns were soiled with mold.

"It's the first time we've ever had this many criticals," owner Larry Krieger told us. He also says the violations were corrected immediately. "We try to educate everyone on what they are doing wrong and our kitchen is very clean." Finn McCool's passed a follow up inspection in February.

Little Basil

Little Basil at 7923 S. Broadway in Littleton  was cited for 14 critical violations in its September 2013 and January 2014 inspections. It gets our second "F" of the week.

The mistakes included the following according to the inspector:

  • Cockroaches
  • Cockroach feces
  • Rodent droppings
  • Employees did not wash hands properly
  • Chicken that should be 41 degrees or colder was 66 degrees

We called the restaurant repeatedly, but we did not receive a response from the owner. So we dropped in.

Investigative reporter Heidi Hemmat asked  an employee, "We just want to know if you still have roaches, roach feces and rodent droppings?" The employee said, "I didn't get any notice from the health department and I don't want on the TV."

The employee didn't know why the owner failed to call us back or send a statement, but he said the problems have been fixed.

Little Basil passed a follow up inspection in February.

Racines

Our "A" for this week goes to Racines at 650 Sherman St. in Denver. It had no violations in its last two health department inspections.

Co-owner Lee Goodfriend credits her constant nagging and well-trained staff for their clean record, and they are grateful for the recognition on our Restaurant Report Card. "I`m so proud. I love it. It`s fantastic. I`m a little shocked that we were able to do it, but I`m really happy," Goodfriend says.

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 unannounced 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.

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