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Restaurant Report Card: No certified food manager, lack of training among problems at local spots

DENVER -- Each week, the FOX31 Problem Solvers look at food inspection reports in the Denver area. Below are two restaurants that were cited for a number of problems and one restaurant that performed well during inspections.

Oskar Blues Brewery

Denver inspectors cited the brewery on the 16th Street Mall for 11 critical health code violations in January.

Violations included:

  • An inspector ordered training for workers and management when no one could answer questions about food safety.
  • No soap at sink
  • Worker frying fish then making salad without washing hands
  • Toxic sanitizer

Oskar Blues Brewery sent an email that said, in part:

“Although we were disappointed with our inspection results on January 17th, we were able take immediate action to address and correct the violations, most of them at the time of inspection or that same day.  We did not incur any fines and on February 26th we were re-inspected and there were zero violations noted.”

Oskar Blues issued 11 health code mistakes in January

Oskar Blues was cited by health code inspectors for 11 critical violations in January.

Oskar Blues sent the following list of what they corrected:

  1. Food Safety Classes - All our managers in house are currently ServSafe trained.
  2. Kitchen Signage - We have posted all signage provided to us by Denver Health and use it as continuous training and reminders to all staff members.
  3. Proper Glove Changes - We have retrained our staff on proper glove use and have posted instruction of the signage from the health department.
  4. Proper way to wipe down surfaces – All staff has been re-trained to use a wet towel with sanitizer to clean all surfaces rather than a dry towel.
  5. Thermometers – All thermometers are calibrated every morning in ice water.
  6. Squeeze bottle storage – Training has been provided to fill all gaps with ice while storing bottles on the line.
  7. Labeling and maintaining – All unmarked storage containers are labeled with dates of preparation. Oyster tags have been reorganized in one area and we’ve added a date of when we receive the oysters as well as a date of when we sell out of the box. This is standard practice moving forward.
  8. Hygienic practices - No drinks/food on the line are allowed and all employees have been re-informed. We have a designated area now for everyone to keep drinks safely and up to code, and we have helped to make sure staff is washing hands more regularly and have posted proper hand washing instruction at all hand sinks.
  9. Sanitizer – Every manager on duty is checking to make sure we are 100% set up both FOH and BOH by 10:45am, or 15 minutes before open with sanitation buckets in all areas.
  10. Reheating and temp control - Signage from the health department is posted everywhere with this information, and staff is fully knowledgeable and aware.
  11. Food Storage - We have again posted signage clearly showing safe standards for storing foods in a walk in, on the line, etc.
  12. Brunch Menu - Our brunch menu has gone through 3 changes in the last few months. Our chef has provided copies of the final menu to Denver Health to confirm the proper consumer food advisory information.
  13. Soap and Paper towels - Soap and paper towels are always full and stocked, and [are] accessible at every hand wash sink in the building.

Oskar Blues is located at 1624 Market Street.

Bodega 44

The Wheat Ridge location scored 10 mistakes in February. Among the problems:

  • No certified food manager
  • Carnitas, carne asada and cheese was thrown out for not being held at the right temperature
  • No thermometer
  • No hand washing sink
  • No soap

Bodega 44 did not return our messages, so we stopped by.  We talked to the owner who then sent the following email, in part:

“We take these matters extremely seriously and are addressing all concerns to prevent these issues from happening in the future.”

You will find Bodega on West 44th Avenue just west of North Pierson Street.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers searched hundreds of inspections in January and found dozens of restaurants struggling to meet the new food code we first told you about last month. County departments are pushing food safety training to ensure someone in the restaurant is certified in food safety.

Brava! Pizzeria

Our “A” goes to Brava! Pizzeria in the Lower Highlands for two perfect inspections in a row.

Brava Pizzeria

Brava! Pizzeria in Denver scores an "A" for two perfect inspections

“We take a lot of time, effort and energy and pride connecting with our customers and give them a great experience, so they come back time and time [again]," said owner Thomas Garnick.

Brava! Pizzeria is at 3200 North Pecos 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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