If you live in Tucson, Arizona or plan on visiting anytime soon, you may want to avoid these restaurants for a while. Fourteen popular food service establishments failed Pima County Health Department inspections in January. While most have passed their follow up inspections, you may still want to be cautious after learning why they didn’t pass. Checkout the full list below with details about each inspection.
Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar
Location: 5825 W. Arizona Pavilions Dr.
History: Mainly excellent ratings since opening in 2017, but received a needs-improvement rating Jan. 9 and failed an initial follow-up inspection on Jan. 22.
Inspector Notes: Employee handled cash and dirty dishes, then served customers without washing hands; clean dishes stored on dirty shelves; excessive food debris in storage area; handwashing sink lacked hot water supply.
Follow-up: Passed a second reinspection Feb. 1.
Carniceria la Noria
Location: 704 E. Prince Road
History: Good ratings since 2017 but was placed on probation Jan. 4 and failed a follow-up inspection on Jan. 14.
Inspector Notes: Meat offered for sale to the public was sprayed with a banned preservative (sodium sulphite) that was labeled “Do not use in food;” two dead mice on glue traps under meat display case; cooked pork, tripe and carnitas stored at unsafe temperatures; handwashing sinks had no soap or paper towels; refrigerated foods had no use-by dates; food prep sink directly connected to sewer.
Follow-up: Passed a second follow-up inspection Jan. 24
AJ’s Famous Hollywood Hotdogs
Location: Mobile Food Vendor
History: Good and excellent ratings since 2015, but received a “needs-improvement” notice Dec. 5 and failed an initial follow-up inspection Jan. 9.
Inspector Notes: Operator expanded and added extra cooking equipment without Health Department approval; operator not certified in food protection management.
Follow-up: Currently closed for business, and must undergo a Health Department review of its operating plan before reopening.
Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery
Location: 1064 N. Campbell Ave.
History: Mainly good an excellent ratings for several years, but was placed on probation Jan. 28.
Inspector Notes: Two employees did not wash hands before putting on gloves to prepare food; handwashing sink inaccessible; Sharpie pen was found in tomato sauce; mold on cheddar cheese; some foods did not have use-by dates; excessive food debris on kitchen floor.
Follow-up: Passed reinspection on Feb. 7.
Location: 840 E. Broadway
History: Mainly good and excellent ratings since 2015, but was placed on probation Jan. 16 and was briefly shut down as an imminent health hazard because of faulty refrigeration.
Inspector Notes: Beef, chili, cheese and taco toppings were stored at unsafe temperatures; dishes stored as clean had food residue; employee used bathroom then went to work in kitchen without first washing hands.
Follow-up: Passed reinspection Jan. 28.
Al J's Tavern
Location: 4980 E. 22nd St.
History: Mainly good and excellent ratings for several years but received a needs-improvement rating Jan. 3 and failed initial reinspection Jan. 14.
Inspector Notes: Dead cockroaches on floor; no paper towels for handwashing sink; dishes, food and kitchen equipment were on the premises although tavern is not licensed to prepare food.
Follow-up: Passed second follow-up inspection on Jan. 25.
Dragon View Asian Cuisine
Location: 400 N. Bonita Ave.
History: Good and excellent ratings until mid-2017. Since then, the restaurant has been placed on probation twice, most recently on Jan. 9.
Inspector Notes: Egg rolls, potstickers, and raw pork, duck, shrimp and chicken stored at unsafe temperatures; head cook washed hands without soap, then returned to work; food debris and residue buildup on kitchenware and food contact surfaces; manager not certified in food protection management.
Follow-up: Passed reinspection Jan. 22.
Location: 3364 E. Benson Highway
History: Good and excellent ratings for 10-plus years, but the bar was cited and placed on probation Dec. 20 for operating an unlicensed kitchen. It also failed two follow-up inspections on Dec. 31 and Jan. 10.
Inspector Notes: Rodent droppings in unapproved food prep areas; large holes in walls contributing to pest problem; handwashing sink not accessible; equipment-washing sink directly connected to sewer posing risk of contamination; though not licensed for food service, the bar’s menu advertised items such chicken fingers, cheese steaks and french fries for sale.
Follow-up: Passed a third follow-up inspection on Jan. 22.
Exxon Service Station
Location: 3840 E. 22nd St.
History: Good and excellent ratings until late 2016. Since then, four out of seven inspections had negative findings, including a Dec. 28 needs-improvement rating and a failed follow-up inspection Jan. 8.
Inspector Notes: Milk, burritos and sausage breakfast sandwiches stored at unsafe temperatures; no handwashing sink in food handling area; equipment in contact with food was not properly sanitized; dust and dirt buildup on floors.
Follow-up: Passed a second follow-up inspection Jan. 18.
Jason Hot Dogs
Location: Mobile Food Vendor
History: Good and excellent ratings since 2012, but was placed on probation Jan. 5.
Inspector Notes: Raw hot dogs, raw bacon and shredded cheese were stored at unsafe temperatures — the third consecutive time inspectors noted that violation; handwashing sink inaccessible; no food thermometer; manager not certified in food protection management.
Follow-up: A reinspection was scheduled for Jan. 16 at Tanque Verde Swap Meet, where the vendor typically operates, but he didn’t show and has not returned Health Department phone calls. Officials are trying to find him to conduct a follow-up inspection.
Location: 8250 N. Cortaro Road
History: Good and excellent scores for 10-plus years, but received a needs-improvement rating Dec. 27 followed by a failed reinspection Jan. 7.
Inspector Notes: Egg rolls, noodles, chicken, tofu, broth and bean sprouts stored at unsafe temperatures; improper cooling procedures for hot foods; cutting boards not sanitized; fans throughout facility had grease and dirt buildup.
Follow-up: Passed a second follow-up inspection Jan. 16.
Our Lady of Guadalupe — Casa Maria
Location: 352 E. 25th St.
History: Good and excellent scores for 10-plus years until early 2018. Since then, two of four inspections had negative findings, most recently a probation rating Jan. 16.
Inspector Notes: Cold turkey and hot soup kept at unsafe temperatures; handwashing sink blocked, a repeat violation; no chlorine test strips for sanitizing solution, a repeat violation; cookware not sanitized; holes in kitchen wall.
Follow-up: Passed a follow-up inspection on Jan. 28.
Location: 3095 E. Irvington Road
History: A mix of good, passing and needs-improvement scores since 2014. Most recently was placed on probation Jan. 17.
Inspector Notes: Hot dogs, turkey, bacon, roast beef, cheese and milk were at unsafe temperatures; toxic chemicals stored near food; handwashing sink blocked by trash; manager not certified in food protection management.
Follow-up: A follow-up inspection was set for Jan. 28 but results were not available by deadline.
Saigon Flavor Restaurant
Location: 18745 S. I-19 Frontage Road
History: Good and excellent ratings for 10-plus years until mid-2017. Placed on probation twice since then, most recently on Dec. 27, and also failed three follow-up inspections between Jan. 7 and 29.
Inspector Notes: Multiple handwashing violations such as handling dirty dishes then putting gloves on to handle food without first washing hands; handwashing sink blocked and inaccessible; live cockroach near kitchen sink; insecticide stored near sink was labeled not for use in food establishment; no test strips for sanitizing solution; sanitizing sink connected directly to sewer.
Follow-up: A fourth follow-up inspection was scheduled for Feb. 8 but results were not immediately available.
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Coty White is a journalist at GoldenGOAT Articles that specializes in business, travel, lifestyle, innovation and the environment. Aside from his time spent as a reporter, he is an active stock trader and current owner of four successful companies.