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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 Denver, one failed location in Lakewood and a winner in Jefferson County.

La Quinta Inn & Suites – Montbello location (F)

The Denver location on North Peoria Street failed with nine critical health code violations in mid-October.

The issues include:

  • Kitchen employee and manager could not answer basic food safety questions
  • Yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and milk were thrown out for not being held cold enough
  • Buffet-holding unit was not hot enough
  • Employee started making gravy without washing her hands

Maria Alamillo, the general manager of the hotel, invited the Problem Solvers into the kitchen and told us all the violations were corrected.

“She’s done training since the inspection,” Alamillo said of the employee who did not wash her hands. “I’m also doing training… We learned and we are going to make sure our guests are safe and our employees.”

This La Quinta is located at 4460 N. Peoria St., Denver.

Valley Inn Restaurant (F)

A Jefferson County inspector saw 10 illness risk factors at the Inn in October, including:

  • Employees touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands
  • Gravy was thrown out for being held at the wrong temperature
  • Fly strip hanging over clean cups
  • Build-up of grease and food debris on the cook line
Valley Inn Family Dining
A Jefferson County health inspector found 10 serious issues at this Lakewood restaurant.

The Problem Solvers stopped by the Valley Inn to speak with a manager when we did not receive a reply to our calls and messages. Later, we received the following statement:

“We are working with a contractor to fix our old building as this is the cause of a lot of our violations. Although all of our violations were corrected by the time of our follow-up inspection, we are also implementing a updated training program for our employees.”

The Valley Inn Restaurant is located at 1997 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood.

Pizza Hut – West Ken Caryl Avenue location (A)

This repeat winner is located on West Ken Caryl Avenue in Jefferson County. It had two inspections without serious mistakes.

Pizza Hut 9012 W Ken Caryl Ave
A second “A” goes to Pizza Hut in Jefferson County.

“We train all of our employees on food safety. New employees get trained and we re-certify all our employees on food safety, so that really helps us have the right focus every day,” regional manager Richard Wykes said. It’s never easy because you have to be ready every day. You never know when they are coming, so they can come at any time. So we just have to operate at a high level every day and we do our best to make sure that happens.”

This Pizza Hut has now received an “A” twice in our Report Card. General Manager Joy Casyas said she depends on a cleaning checklist to keep everything up to code.

“We have a weekly cleaning check list that kind of goes over every spot in the restaurant to make sure everything is nice, pristine and clean…I was ecstatic. I was super happy. It’s the second time I got it so it just felt like a good little boost of confidence,” Casyas said.

This Pizza Hut is at 9012 W. Ken Caryl Ave., Littleton.

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