By Bernardo Pegas
SAN ANTONIO—Health inspectors keep an attentive eye on restaurants to make sure what they are serving is up to code, but that does not mean every restaurant follows the rules. Metro Health considers 31 or more demerits a failing score for San Antonio food establishments. The San Antonio Express-News examines hundreds of restaurant inspections each week conducted by the San Antonio Food and Environmental Health and they consider any eateries with 14 or more demerits part of their dirty list. Even though around our campus there are no restaurants with 31 or more demerits, there are plenty that made the San Antonio Express-News “dirty” list.For this story5 restaurants were selected in a 2-mile radius from Our Lady of the Lake University campus that, at their last inspection, had more than 14 demerits. Mi Guadalajara Grill #4 Mexican Restaurant: 4414 W. Commerce Distance from the campus: 0.6 miles, 1-minute drive. Date of last inspection: 03/03/2016 Demerits: 22 This restaurant is at a walking distance from the university. Although it is a popular place between students to eat Mexican food, there were some serious health hazards noticed. Inspector observed employee wipe sweat from forehead with arm while working at tortilla station without washing hands properly, small live roaches found on wall above three compartment sink. Food was found unprotected from cross contamination, a container with raw pork chops was found stored on shelf directly above canned goods. Rosita’s Café: 1335 Gen McMullen Distance from campus: 1.1 miles, 3-minute drive. Date of last inspection: 01/12/2016 Demerits: 19 At this Mexican restaurant whole in-shell eggs were found stored above ready-to-eat foods, risking cross contamination. Toxic chemicals found near food, pre-packaged coffee creamers and cut limes not held at correct temperature. Taquititos El Guero: 3016 W. Commerce St. Distance from campus: 1.1 miles, 3-minute drive. Date of last inspection: 03/04/2016 Demerits: 22 Food found unprotected from cross contamination, observed bowl of raw, marinated meat stored above avocados. Also, potentially hazardous food not maintained at proper cold hold temperature, ready-to-eat foods did not have consume-by date, food residue/build up on shelves inside refrigerator Malt House: 115 South Zarzamora ST Distance from campus: 1.3 miles, 5-minute drive Date of last inspection: 10/12/2015 Demerits: 23 A diverse menu of Mexican & American comfort food is the draw at this low-key institution. The restaurant has the most demerits on this list. Inspector observed rice, carne guisada and beef not cooled according to Metro Health procedure, clean towels stored in cooler to hide from other employees, tray that holds raw beef stored above beer cases, ready-to-eat food does not have prepared/expiration date marked, hand sink missing soap and towels, cleaning bucket had too much bleach, coolers missing thermometers, soda nozzles were soiled. El Fogon Mexican Restaurant: 1823 Buena Vista St. Distance from campus: 1.9 miles, 5-minute drive. Date of last inspection: 03/03/2016 Demerits: 18 Raw fish in walk in cooler not covered properly, potentially hazardous food not maintained at required cold hold temperature, paper towel dispenser not working correctly, container used to store clean cooking utensils is soiled with food debris and oil.
The demerit system is based upon the number of violations found during a regular food establishment inspection. There are three categories of demerits and each are assigned a demerit score of 5, 4 or 3 points, according to the health division. Scores and demerits listed are only representative of the state of the restaurant at the time of inspection and are surveyed at random. For more information on the issue check the San Antonio Express-News weekly reports or access sanantonio.gov and go under food establishments.
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