Restaurant Report Card: Upscale metro Denver restaurants fail health code inspections

The Palate Food and Wine Bar

The Greenwood Village restaurant failed our report card with 12 health code violations on Nov. 29, 2018. The issues include:

  • Dead and live mussels were stored together
  • Garlic-and-oil mixture was thrown out because it was held wrong temperature
  • Smoked salmon was thrown out for being stored with raw chicken and fish
  • Excessive food debris was on coolers, the floor and cooking equipment.

The restaurant manager said they hired new staff and sent the following written comment, in part:

“We always take public health safety and cleanliness of the restaurant extremely seriously. After our original health inspection, we scored great scores and passed the reinspection from Tri County health inspector with flying colors. Since then, we have all the settings in place to clear all the future inspections positively.”

The Palate, which passed a follow-up inspection in mid-December, is on Landmark Place in Greenwood Village.

Shanahan's Steakhouse in the Denver Tech Center

Shanahan’s Steakhouse

The restaurant known for its steaks and seafood failed with 14 violations during its last two surprise inspections in December and June. In December, the mistakes included:

  • No date printed on shellfish tags
  • Staff using bare, unwashed hands
  • Broccoli was held at wrong temperature
  • Employee drinks were on food prep tables

The restaurant’s team sent the below written statement, in part:

On behalf of the entire management and culinary team at Shanahan’s we want to reassure all of our guests that cleanliness, organization and food safety practices are a daily priority.   We take pride in the fact over the past ten years we’ve been in business, we have had no circumstances that put the public at risk.  The items we were cited for were corrected immediately on site and in no way will be a concern going forward.”

Shanahan’s is located at 5085 South Syracuse Street in the Denver Tech Center.


Our “A” goes to 12@Madison in the Congress Park neighborhood for two perfect inspections in a row.

12@Madison scores perfect health inspections

Executive chef Jeff Osaka said, “We are very diligent when it comes to cleaning. We have a motto: 'everything everyday.' We don’t just spot clean our restaurants; we try to hit everything. So, we are not really deep cleaning once a month, it’s like what our motto says: 'everything everyday.'"

The restaurant prides itself on its continued maintenance.

“It’s always a challenge to go through a health inspection. We really don’t try to clean our restaurant or keep it clean for the health inspector; it’s really mainly for our guests -- the comfort and the safety of our guests," Osaka said.

You’ll find 12@Madison at 1160 North Madison Street in Denver.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson County, Weld County, Broomfield 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 or four critical violations on their most recent regular inspection and five or four critical violations on the previous regular inspection. The restaurant may also fail for eight or more violations in one 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 regular inspections in a row, with no critical violations, by awarding them an A.

Denver County

Tri-County Health Department

Jefferson County

Weld County

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