Denver’s most fined restaurants in 2014

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DENVER — Every Thursday we take a look at restaurants with critical health code violations. This week, we examine the 10 Denver locations that have received the most fines for critical mistakes in 2014.

The following restaurants were fined by the Denver Department of Environmental Health in 2014.

1. Fruteria & Carniceria La Mexicana

From the maggots in the parking lot to the meat chunks in the deli, Denver Environmental Health has documented a history of bad inspections since 2011 at Fruteria & Carniceria La Mexicana located at 706 North Sheridan.

most fined restaurants 2014

Click to see a map of the top 10 most fined restaurants in Denver.

Inspectors have fined the Fruteria $11,250 for several repeat critical violations including flies landing on food, fly strips hanging over food and possible fly poop scattered on an awning over the meat counter.

Also, the restaurant was cited for raw meat chunks on the door and food debris and dirt throughout the facility.

The owner of the restaurant refused to comment.

2. Pacific Ocean International Supermarket

The second most fined location in Denver is the Pacific Ocean International Supermarket at 2200 West Alameda Avenue.  Inspected fined the location $7,000 this year.

In August, an inspector cited the supermarket for 16 critical violations including “live flies in the bakery preparation area” and  “live flies landing in and around product”  Along with the flies, the inspector noted  “100 mouse droppings on the food storage shelves” and  “droppings in direct contact with single service bags.”

Inspectors continue to do follow up inspections and in September cited the restaurant for two additional violations.

The owner of the market did not want to comment.

3. Pasquini’s Pizzeria

HEIDI HEMMATA two way tie for the third most fined location.  Pasquini’s Pizza on Broadway and Super Carniceria Compare on South Federal both faced $6,500 in fines.

Pasquini’s was cited for seven critical violations in April including evidence of rodents when “more than 150 rodent droppings observed on floor…on shelf with pizza pans and on pan liners in bakery.

In June inspectors were back and again found rodent droppings om “clean plates, slicer, legs of large mixer and floors.”

Pasquini’s pizzeria had no violations during a limited inspection in June.

We left the owner messages but he did not return our calls.

3. Super Carniceria Compare

The Super Carniceria Compare was also fined $6,500.

In March inspectors cited Super Carniceria at 2796 South Federal Boulevard for 11 critical violations. During that inspection several cross contamination issues were marked including “precooked shrimp observed touching raw fish” and “raw chicken…being stored touching pork.”

Inspectors were at this location 11 different days so far this year to ensure public safety.

No comment from the owner.

4. Carniceria La Guadalajara

Carniceria La Guadalajara located at 5185 West 1st Avenue was inspected in September when inspectors found seven critical violations.

Several food items including 24 gallons of milk, 20, 8-oz. packages of bacon and approximately 200 packages of various types of cheese were thrown out when the inspector found the food being held at too warm of temperature.

Denver’s environmental health department has re-inspected the facility and issued a passing grade on Sept. 12.

The owner had no comment.

5. Blue Moon

Rounding out the top five is Blue Moon at 2188 South Colorado Boulevard.

During a regular inspection in April, inspectors closed the facility for a day “due to imminent public health risk.”  Inspectors found critical violations including 100 plus rodent droppings throughout the restaurant.

In May inspectors were back and ordered the restaurant to “abate all pest in the facility effective immediately” after adult and baby cockroaches were found in storage.

The location had no violations in September.  No comment from the owner of the restaurant.

6. Tacos El Fresno

Inspectors fined this mobile cart business $4,875 dollars for critical violations through the year.  In August an inspector noted the business had two cart locations with the name Tacos El Fresno and one license.  The owner is currently seeking another license.  Inspectors cited the business for not having working water and using a garden hose from a nearby tire shop.  The inspection also said Tacos El Fresno had no hand sink and no paper towels.   The owner of the restaurant said all violations have been corrected.

7. Carnitas Estilo Michoacan

A two way tie for the seventh most fined Denver eateries begins with Carnitas Estilo Michoacan.

Inspectors fined Carnitas Estilo Michoacan on Evans $4750 for repeat critical violations.  During their last regular or unannounced inspection, health experts cited seven critical violations.

The mistakes reported include moldy fruit, weak sanitizer and food being stored on the floor.  Several items including ham and different types of cheeses, shrimp and sour cream were thrown out because they were held at too warm of temperature which can cause bacteria to grow.

The restaurant had no comment.

7. Bubba Chinos Grilled Burritos

The health department also fined Bubba Chinos Grilled Burritos $4750 for critical health code mistakes.

In a regular inspection on Oct. 3 health experts cited the eatery for 11 critical violations including the need for additional food safety training. A health inspector said a sticky fly strip with some 60 dead flies on it was hanging in the dry storage area of the kitchen.

Also, the inspector found sanitizer with no chlorine and sanitizer with so much chlorine it was toxic.

The restaurant located at 160 North Federal passed a follow up inspection on October 27th.

The restaurant owner provided this statement:

“As of October 26th all violations have been corrected. We would have passed our second follow up, however our walk in cooler wasn’t running at full capacity and not holding temp. We have since had it repaired and everything is fine and signed off on. I would like to add that the health inspectors didn’t find severity in the issue, at no time were we asked to remove or discard any food. He also complemented the fact he saw ZERO evidence of rodent activity, however did ask that a fly strip be removed. The Health and safety of our customers is our first priority. We have served this community for over 20 years with our time honored Chili and we look forward to the next 20 years of full bellies and happy customers…

8. Pho on 6th

The eighth most fined restaurant is Pho on 6th located at 1312 East 6th Avenue.

Inspectors fined Pho on 6th $4250.

Inspectors were on location in August for a follow up inspection and found four critical violations including an employee who was cut and bleeding but did not have gloves on or a band aid on the wound.

Inspectors were at the restaurant again last month and found no critical violations.  The owner refused to comment.

9. Little Saigon Oriental Market

Little Saigon Oriental Market at 375 South Federal had $3,500 in fines thus far in 2014.  This location was most recently inspected in August and that report notes three critical violations including no towels are a way for employees to dry their hands.

The inspection also said there was no chlorine in either bucket of sanitation used to wipe down counter tops.

In April during an unannounced inspection, five critical violations were marked including moldy food, food held at the wrong temperature and excessive food debris on the floors, coolers and freezers.

The owner had no comment.

10. Safeway #1038

The Safeway located at 1653 South Colorado Boulevard racked up $3,500 in fines from the Department of Environmental Health.

Inspectors said the deli had temperatures issues cited on May 20 and May 24.  Several items including fried chicken, turkey and ribs were held at too warm of temperature.

During a regular inspection in May, health experts also noted that there was no cold water available at the hand sink.

Safeway Corporation had the following comment:  “Safeway takes food safety very seriously.  The concerns raised at the Colorado Boulevard store were addressed by our food safety and store operations teams.  Cold holding display cases were recalibrated to appropriate operating temperatures and we will continue to provide ongoing training to all store employees who work in food preparation.  Safeway is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality products. We have taken steps, to ensure those standards are met.”

Safeway had zero critical violations in a follow up inspection.

11. Tacos Rapidos

Tacos Rapidos on Evans was also fined $3500.

In July’s unannounced inspection, health experts found seven critical violations including temperature issues which can make you sick.  In a follow-up inspection those temperature issues were cited again.

In January inspectors cited the restaurant for five critical violations including poor hygienic practices, bare hand contact and hands not washed as needed.

The restaurant passed a follow up inspection in August.  The owner did not want to comment.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card airs on FOX31 Denver News at 9 each Thursday night and it features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson County, Weld County and restaurants under the jurisdiction of the Tri-County Health Department. 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 Denver 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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