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The popular Highlands neighborhood restaurant Linger is our first F this week. The Denver restaurant received 12 critical violations in its last two unannounced health department inspections in July of 2013 and July of 2014.

The violations included:

  • There was no documentation showing that the salmon has been properly frozen to kill the parasites. Linger was ordered to “cease and desist” serving ceviche because of that violation.
  • An employee was handling dirty dishes then clean dishes without washing hands.
  • Deli meats, cheeses, salsa, chicken, pork, and steak were held at unsafe temperatures, which can lead to food poisoning.
  • Potatoes were stored on the floor.
  • Both dishwashers in the restaurant were not sanitizing.

Linger’s owner refused to do an interview, but sent this statement:

“We pride ourselves on maintaining a safe, clean and healthy restaurant environment, and we take these violations very seriously. We addressed each of the items noted in the inspection report immediately and four of the seven issues were corrected on-the-spot. We are working to ensure none of these issues resurface again.”

Great Beginnings

Our second F this week goes to Great Beginnings, 11800 E. Oswego St. in Englewood. The restaurant was cited for 17 critical violations in its September of 2013 and June of 2014 unannounced inspections.

Among the violations:

  • Employees not washing their hands.
  • Sausage, gravy, and whipped cream were held at unsafe temperatures.
  • There was no soap at the food prep sink.
  • And the inspector noted old food debris on the shelves, in the ice bin, the grill, refrigerator, floors, ceiling and walls.

The owner of New Beginnings sent a statement, which says in part:

“I have no one to blame but myself.  I am embarrassed that the restaurant failed the health inspections!  Life had gotten hectic for me and I neglected the restaurant and its guests…The situation at the cafe will improve…”

Noodles and Company

The A+ of the week foes to Noodles on 6th and Broadway in Denver, for back-to-back perfect inspections.

“I’ve got a great team, great management team, great front of the line staff, great culinary staff, everyone takes pride in their work,” General manager Joe Mogor told us.

“I watch (Restaurant Report Card) a lot on the news to see who is an A and who is an F, so it’s pretty cool to see my restaurant as an A+,” he said.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson 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 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. We recognize restaurants with two perfect regular inspections in a row by awarding them an A.

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