Anyone else see the health department inspection for San Marcos in yesterday's Blade? Ugly.
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Didn't see it, but would like to. I tried clicking the Restaurant Inspections link on The Blade site, but page came up with no content.
looks like a lot of little things. Nothing major. Not like the monnettes one from a year ago.
I liked them up until last week when I got a taco and almost chocked on a half broken tooth pick inside of it! Keep wondering how it got there.....
...also keep wondering who got the other half of the toothpick.....
Soup holding at 70-some odd degrees isn't a "little" thing to me. Neither is using degreaser instead of sanitizer. Still scratching my head on that one.
always seems that the places I like the best are just a step ahead of the health inspector...
Very poor sanitation and foods held at improper temps are not exactly "little things" - at least they aren't to me.
While the report has many less critical items, there are two temperature violations plus numerous other frightening (to me) items. As dell_diva pointed out, degreaser is not a substitute for sanitizer, and I would be leery of eating anything at an establishment without the ability to use quaternary sanitizer on containers and utensils.
In my experience the restaurant inspectors are usually not zealots, and they will work with you. To see a report filled with a dozen or more violations implies one of several scenarios: 1) the establishment is run by people who have no clue about sanitation; 2) the establishment was in particularly bad shape that day; or 3) the employees or manager were adversarial in their interactions with the inspector.
I can remember many times following around the inspector and offering to fix a small concern on the spot. Sometimes the inspector would kindly leave off the report a few items that were immediately corrected, like chemicals stored on the wrong shelf or a broken light cover (something along those lines). However, I remember a manager I employed who was a real jackass to an inspector once, and the inspector went into drill sergeant mode. Every little item that could possibly be documented went on that report, even odd items like rust that built up on metal shelving in a cooler. The manager's arrogant attitude probably cost my business several thousand dollars in lost sales, as the store's sales took a nosedive for a couple of weeks. We received a ton of indignant calls from customers after that hit the paper. Yet everything documented was valid, and half of the items could have been corrected immediately had the manager not been a jackass. Of course, if he had been running the store better (and if I had been more vigilant as owner) most of the stuff would never have occurred.
Well, except the rusty shelf: you cannot stop Mother Nature. :-)
Bottom line: if you take sanitation seriously and implement systems to monitor temperatures every shift, your visits by the health inspector will be painless. More importantly, your patrons will be much less likely to contract a food-borne illness, and food service personnel who shirk their sanitation responsibilities could realistically cause the death of another person if they permit the growth and transmission of biological agents such as E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella.
I sure would not want to live with the knowledge that negligence on my part (or that of my employees) led to someone's death. Unfortunately, many of these places are staffed with minimum wage workers and teenagers, populations who have to be trained about the importance of food safety, and if a restaurant manager assumes people should know basic sanitation, that manager is asking for trouble. Heck, some employees are oblivious about personal hygiene, let alone sanitation, so to expect that they understand food safety is reckless.
Did that manager get a size 12 in the ass on the way out the door?
As far as I'm concerned, these health inspections are right up there with the police blotter in the local news hierarchy. Maybe that means I dine out too often. But who would want to eat at a place with flagrant violations??
On the same report, we see Vito's on Lewis and Shorty's BBQ. I go to shorty's every 6-8 weeks. No real problems on their report. As we should expect, since they are a Mancy's restaurant with a track record of good management and success. Now granted, Vito's is a pizza joint...relatively new, but growing like crazy..some of those violations, eek!
Yeah, degreaser is certainly not sanitizer. I wouldn't want my food coming in contact with degreaser, but, I feel the same way about the chemical sanitizer to a lesser degree. And, I'll give you the soup temp, although since it was on a stove top, it sounds as though they would be either in the process of reheating or cooling it to put away. Perhaps, they got busy and forgot about it. Not good for sure but, they probably weren't holding at that temp and serving 70 degree soup. I just expected far worse given some others i've read in the past. I saw one a couple years ago with fish thawing in the mop sink.
Not to defend any serious violations at all but I'll take a little contrarian viewpoint on issues concerning restaurant safety inspections. First, I have no desire to eat anywhere that is filthy! However, when we speak about authentic Vietnamese, Asian or Mexican restaurants if you truly desire “the real thing” many places in those regions would scare the bejeebies out of any person who is obsessive about restaurant inspection standards. I do appreciate clean counters, sanitization standards in the kitchen etc where I eat but I would trade San Marco’s any day from a trip to a “real place” in Mexico City. Having spent some time in China many years ago I have never really seen much that shocked me near home.
The link shows the address as 719 Galena. I thought the San Marco's everyone was raving about was on Broadway. I guess there are two San Marco's restaurants in Toledo. Same owners?
I found this listing:
They also have a listing in Foursquare, for any of you using that. So, I think it's fair to say that it's not the same as the one on Broadway. I also checked AREIS at both addresses and the properties are owned by entirely different entities.
Screwed up the link on the above post to the directory listing.
Also wanted to add this link to a Blade article that reviewed the Broadway location and there is a very brief mention of the Galena location at the end. So maybe there is a connection?
I looked at the report and my first impression was, what are all these TT guys making a fuss about? The business needs to fix a few things, but I didn't really see anything that was a cockroach-type problem with hairballs in the soup. Anybody here probably would flunk a kitchen report at home from the health department. My mother-in-law leaves her just-made soup out to cool for four hours before refrigeration. We don't have a hand sink separate from the kitchen sink either as the health department demands. Nor do we have test strips on the counter.
I am not trying to say that public places shouldn't adhere to health codes, but we shouldn't get all bent out of shape for minor infractions either.
My feeling is that the e health department is kind of like a Gestapo force in the business community. We all want good clean food, but let's not blow everything out of proportion.
I was in The Rocket Liquor Store ( on corner of Door and Westwood ) before Christmas. The coolers in the place were FULL of visable BLACK MOLD. The smell inside of these coolers was putrid to say the least. Not only did they have the usual beer and soda in the coolers they had a lot of food also. Shouldn't the filth in this store be reported to someone? The whole place made my skin crawl!
Pete the difference is you can do what you want in your own home, public places have to maintain a higher standard, the reason those standards are set is to ensure that people don't get sick. It only takes a few slip ups for people to start getting ill. They might get away with it for a long time but it only takes once for the lawsuits to fly.
I can appreciate that some mom & pop places may be a little rough around the edges, but the kitchen should always be clean.
The report didn't say anything about lack of cleanliness, Upso. Most of the criticisms were about procedural stuff, like meats stored above other foods, employee beverages, ice scoop storage, wipe buckets, etc. I will bet the item about food not at 41 degrees or below in the walk-in cooler means it was probably at 42 degrees. It doesn't say they made them throw the food away, so it couldn't have been a major violation involving spoiled food.
My concern about these inspection reports is that they lump all critical and non-critical violations together in one long report that makes it look like this place is filthy and to be avoided. The average guy sees the length of the report and goes, Whoa! That's not right either. These kinds of reports can put a guy out of business, even though none of them are critical.
I miss the small diner at San Marcos, while it was busier than a bee, the food was awesome. I have found that the quality has went down. I am not sure about the San Marcos on Galena St.
I agree with you ToledoLatina - I think the owners/operators have lost something in the transition to a much larger scale operation - especially within the last few months.
I have to agree with the sad decline of SM. I was there last week and decided not to return. I really liked that place but the quality of the food was not the same as a year ago.
While I've continued to buy groceries at San Marcos, we haven't dined there nor purchased food they prepared since the not so hot health inspection came out - until last night.
I've had a major league craving for their table red sauce though the last couple of times I bought it, it was inedibly hot - and I love the hot, spicy stuff.
What I bought there last night was truly incredible - quite different from what they had been selling in the past. Still spicy and by no means mild or medium, it actually had a great flavor to go along with the heat. I'm going back tonight for some more. Sadly, I think it depends on who is in the kitchen preparing the daily batch as opposed to a standard recipe.
So is this a different San Marcos or the one everyone loves?
Why don't the owners of San Marcos just tell the inspectors that it is their privately owned business and to just "Butt out!" and that they can do whatever they want.(sarcasm directed to smokers)LOL!
Food is food and that is the bailiwick of the health department... always has been. Tobacco is a recent addition to their duties and has nothing to do with the cleanliness of food. You're comparing apples to peaches! LOL dittoed.
"I am just agitating!" Oh, o.k. Thought you might be a tad serious there. :-)
I just wanted to see who would get fired up.I always thought that according to smokers it was always about owners rights.If I were to use that logic ,then an owner could do anything they wanted because the property belongs to them.The tobacco issue was also about the health of the patrons and the employees.So it is not apples to peaches if you want to discuss owners rights.I just wanted to point out what I always heard from smokers.They would argue that it was the owners right to do what they wanted.I probably opened up a can of worms.SORRY!
Was there another, worse, inspection recently? Coworkers are saying something about putrid meat...
From Monday's Blade:
"Sam Marco's, 235 Broadway, inspected Feb. 29. Foods stored on floor of walk-in cooler and in retail store. Store all foods at least six inches off floor to protect from contamination. Improper cold holding and hot holding of time and temperature controlled for safety foods: pudding/parfait, raw beef in meat processing area. To limit growth of bacteria all foods must be held cold at 41 degrees or lower or hot at 135 degrees or higher. Mold growth in ice chest. Thoroughly wash, rinse, and sanitize this piece of equipment. Inspector: Mike Brady."
So it doesn't say anything about putrid meat but it looks like the potential for it was there.
They REALLY need to get their act together. They could rule this town (well, at least in the authentic Mexican food category) if they would pay attention to what the heck they're doing!
They could literally cook it on the floor, I'm still going as many times as I can, and still stuffing myself every time.
I just ran across this item in Slate.com about how Washinton State is starting to allow homecooking in retail settings and, in the process, boost some entrepreneurial spirit.
Years ago, you could start a business on a shoestring in this country and turn it into a multi-million dollar concern. Not any more. You need millions just to comply with the rules and get started anymore. Too bad that regulations have become our enemy instead of helping the economy and providing real choices for the consumer.
We're fortunate to have the Center for Innovative Food Technology in the area. Right now they have a contest (it's annual, I believe) for the best homemade food product or recipe. The prize is, they will set you up in production and help out with marketing, regulations compliance, let you use the commercial kitchen. I took a food safety course there. Check out their website: "www.ciftinnovation.org" or contact them at 419-535-6000.