DENVER — Each week, FOX31 and Channel 2 report on recent health inspections for restaurants in the Denver area. This week, we featured one failed location in Thornton, one failed location in Arvada and a winner in Denver.
Taco Star (Thornton location)
The Thornton restaurant scored 10 serious health code mistakes in August, including:
- Pink and black mold inside the ice machine
- Bag of carrots on the floor
- No throw-away date on some cooked food
- No food safety manager
- No policy to clean up if someone gets sick
- No signs at hand sinks reminding employees to wash their hands
The Taco Star Thornton team sent a statement that says in part: “…Taco Star takes our responsibility to provide a clean environment and safe food seriously. No infraction is acceptable, but when something falls outside of acceptable operating parameters – corrective action has always been immediately taken. In this case, the majority of the infractions found during this inspection were corrected on the spot….”
Taco Star is on East 84th Avenue near Grant Street in Thornton.
El Tapatio (Arvada location)
A Jefferson County inspector found nine serious issues in August, including seeing cockroaches crawling on the food prep line. Other mistakes include:
- Raw chicken was stored over open containers of salsa and sauce
- Sink not working in women's restroom
- Chips were thrown out after a worker touched them with bare hands
- Sanitizing solution had no bleach
El Tapatio’s general manager Salvador Silva told us they hired a pest control company, fired the manager and chef, and started a checklist system.
Rodrigo’s Padilla, the owner’s son, said, “We want to make sure it gets done and it gets taken care of this. We want to make sure our customers come back. We have a few locations, and this is something big, so we had to make sure it got taken care of. We want to make sure our customers come back. We have a few locations, and this is something basic, so we needed to make sure it got taken care of.”
Silva told us, “The restaurant is really clean, as you can see. You guys can see we have really professional people in the kitchen, professional people in front of the house, in here too. This is my job so I’m here.”
Inspectors returned twice, giving the restaurant located at 5390 Wadsworth Bypass in Arvada a passing grade.
Our “A” goes to the sushi place inside Sprouts Farmer’s Market located at 3625 E. Colfax Ave., Denver.
“We train before they open [the] store. We send them to corporate for [a] two-week training. The training department trains them perfectly before they come back to open a store. So, they learn everything before they come back. After they come, after we open, I am here to support them and everything. And I do monthly inspections every month. Whatever mistake, I train them and follow up with them and do whatever is needed to follow the policy. That’s why every location got a good inspection," said Hniang Awi, regional supervisor.
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.