10 Worst Charlotte Restaurant Health Scores in October


Even though Charlotte’s restaurant selection continues to grow, so does our population, and some restaurants are taking advantage of this growing customer base by letting their health standards slide.

Some of the most common reasons for low scores were food handlers not washing their hands properly, contaminated food containers, and improper food temperatures (many restaurants are starting to use infrared thermometers to avoid this). You can see exactly what the inspectors look for on this blank copy of an inspection report.

These are the top 10 worst currently standing inspection scores in Mecklenburg County (some restaurants scored lower in October but were reinspected with higher scores before November 1st):

#10 Madras Cafe

Scored 88 (B) on 10/3/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee drink cup stored on prep table.
  • Hot water handle on cook line handsink broken, hot water un-available.
  • Observed quat sanitizer reading 0 ppm at 3 comp sink while dishes were being washed.
  • Observed cooked tomato sauce in deep pan with partially vented plastic wrap cooling overnight (more than 6 hrs) at 52 degrees.
  • Observed several date mark required foods (marsala, sambar, onion sauce etc.) that were prepared over 24 hrs, stored in prep cooler with no date marking.

#9 Hibachi Express

Scored 87.5 (A) on 10/22/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed food employee preparing food with bare hands.
  • Observed food contact surface with build up of debris.
  • Observed shrimp and garlic in oil out of temperature. Refer to temperature chart.
  • Observed noodles, chicken, and egg roll with no date on product.

#8 Great Wok

Scored 87 (B) on 10/29/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed no CFM on site until after 20 min of inspection had been completed. 2-103.11(A-L)
  • Observed overall lack of control of kitchen and food processes as evidenced by lack of cold holding, cooling methods, time as a publich health control (TPHC), and handwashing.
  • After employee was directed to wash hands and change gloves, employee just changed gloves, and did not wash hands.
  • Observed employees wash hands and then use bare hands to turn off water.
  • Observed overall lack of handwashing throughout inspection after changing tasks and moving throughout various areas of the kitchen. Employees need to wash hands before food preparation when they have changed tasks. Employees were only washing hands when directed by Environmental Health Specialist (EHS).
  • Observed raw pork and raw steak stored over ready to eat foods in both walk in and reach in freezer. Items were out of their original packaging.
  • Observed employee handle raw chicken and then handle ready to eat chicken without changing gloves.
  • Observed noodles cooked at 12:30pm above 70F at 3:30pm.
  • Observed “yum yum” sauce stored on counter. Product is made with mayonaise that states “refrigerate after opening”.
  • Observed 3 large cases of chicken stored at room temperature. Employee was cutting chicken the entire time inspection occurred.
  • Observed large bowl of chicken marinating at room temperature for first half of inspection.
  • Observed rehydrated garlic in oil at wok station.
  • Observed no time stamp on noodles.
  • Observed broccoli with 10:30am time stamp in cooler still at 2:50pm.

#7 Famous Toastery Dilworth

Scored 86.5 (B) on 10/26/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee at dish area handling soiled dishes and clean dishes.
  • Observed several food employees improperly “rinsing hands,” one employee did not use papertowels to dry her hands. Instead, turned off faucet and “shook” hands dry before donning gloves.
  • Observed ice and coffee dumped in handwashing sink near the server area.
  • Observed no paper towels at the handwashing sink near bar area.
  • Observed unwashed produce stored over ready to eat food such as ham, tomatoes, and cooked mushrooms in the walk in cooler.
  • Observed a meat slicer stored as cleaned with a soiled blade under the hold holding unit near the stove.
  • Observed no sanitizer solution near the three compartment sink.
  • Observed a pan of meatloaf at 52F that was prepared on 10/24.
  • Observed a container of tomatoes and chicken salad in the walk in cooler with no date mark.

#6 Tupelo Honey Cafe

Scored 86 (B) on 10/29/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed food employee use clean bare hands to turn off faucet.
  • Observed one handsink with food debris on the inside and another handsink with coffee stains inside of it.
  • In reach in refrigerator observed raw shell eggs being stored over cooked cauliflower.
  • Observed metal pans stacked together with stickers still left on the outside of them.
  • Observed immersion blender with food debris on the blades and the shaft and a food blender with debris left on the blades and inside the shaft.
  • Observed soiled knife stored on wall as clean. Items were taken to 3 compartment sink to be rewashed.
  • In flip top unit observed cheese holding at 76F and sprouts holding at 70F.
  • Observed several items being held in refrigeration units that were not date marked such as pickled onions, goat cheese, boiled eggs, hush puppy mix, pork butt, fried chicken, quinoa rice, collard greens and rice.
  • Observed items with expired dates such as mac and cheese bites- 10/20, and duck fat-10/11.

#5 Essex Bar and Bistro 

Scored 86 (B) on 10/16/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee food being stored on a shelf above food for restaurant.
  • Observed items being stored in front of hand sink by cook line upon arrival EHS had to lean over items to wash hands.
  • Observed large stack of crates for cleaning glasses being stored in front of the dish machine handsink.
  • Observed mozzarella cheese being stored in reach-in cooler with growth.
  • Observed smoked salmon being stored directly on top of box of olives, observed raw beef being stored behind ready-to-eat noodles in cooler drawer, observed raw shell eggs being stored in cooler drawer behind cooked onions, and observed package of fully cooked shrimp being stored in same container as package of raw shrimp at sushi cooler.
  • Observed ice machine with pink build-up on the top interior and black build-up in the door tracks.
  • Observed cleaning needed in bar soda dispenser hose nozzles.
  • Observed cut brussel sprouts from yesterday at 50F in reach-in cooler. Observed beef tortas in large container above 45F from last night.
  • Observed several items holding above 45F including heavy cream, salsa, short ribs, harrisa, raw tuna, and ranch dressing.
  • Observed butter chicken stored in pizza prep cooler at 55F.
  • Observed multiple items without date labels including two open containers of spreadable brie, sausage at pizza cooler, heavy cream and milk at the bar.
  • Observed several items with cook/make/freeze date but no thaw date including canadian bacon dated 9/29 and chunks of ham 9/28.
  • Observed cut kale with date label of 10/9, green sauce with date of 10/6, yellow chicken with date of 10/8.
  • Observed garlic in oil sauce for brushing pizzas sitting out at room temperature by grill without TPHC procedure or time stamp.

#4 Graham St. Pub & Patio

Scored 85.5 (B) on 10/26/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee jacket hanging on faucet of handsink.
  • Observed empty chemical jug stored in handsink.
  • Observed open package of raw bacon stored over uncovered falaffel and avocado slices in reach in freezer.
  • Observed queso on the stove reheating. Employee stated that it started reheating 2 hours ago. Product was at 90F.
  • Observed wings cooling in walk in at a rate of .05F/min in walk in cooler.
  • Observed K slaw cooling at a rate of .02F/min.
  • Observed TCS dressings held on ice above 45F. Ice was only up and around half of the bottle.
  • Observed grilled onions held at stove for lunch service under no temperature control. Item was above 45F.
  • Observed pimiento cheese double panned in prep top cooler.
  • Observed spring mix that employee stated was from yesterday with no date mark.
  • Observed slaw dated 10/16, and chili dated 10/6. Chili was pulled from freezer but no one knew when it was pulled.
  • Observed chicken and steak being held on TPHC with no procedure.

#3 Taqueria Express Grill

Scored 84.5 (B) on 10/31/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed food employees washing hands using spray arm at 3-comp sink at beginning of inspection.
  • Observed food employee filling pitcher in handsink instead of prep or 3-comp available in the kitchen.
  • Observed food employee washing off gloves and continuing to use them.
  • Observed oven cleaner bottle filled with sanitizer and unlabeled bottles of chemicals near prep line.

#2 Godavari Truly South Indian

Scored 83 (B) on 10/25/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed raw fish stored over ready-to-eat chicken in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed heavy build-up inside large ice machine around ice chute.
  • Observed build-up on can opener blade.
  • Observed sticker residue on cleaned pans.
  • Observed large pan of onion masala in walk-in cooler 54F.
  • Obsevred multiple food items in walk-in cooler without date mark. 1 food item incorrectly date marked.

#1 Cheddars

Scored 80.5 (B) on 10/24/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employees come from outside kitchen, touching phone and clothes then put on gloves to handle food.
  • Observed employee handling onion that was to be sliced for onion rings with bare hands.
  • Observed no paper towels at line handsink.
  • Observed employees use gloves to touch clothes and handle food with damaged gloves.
  • Observed metal covers, pot, serving bowls, tomato slicer, fryer basket, plastic containers, knife, and scoops soiled with food debris.
  • Observed cooked pasta that was cooling in plastic containers and did not drop in temp after 40 minutes of no intervention.
  • Observed gravy, mac and cheese, and broccoli casserole holding below 135F.
  • Observed lettuce overstocked in prep top, sour cream, pico, shredded cheese, raw shrimp, raw tilapia, Cole slaw, ranch, raw chicken, and Monte Cristo sandwich holding above 45F in prep top and ice baths.
  • Observed milk, half and half, and heavy cream not dated.
  • Observed records for Oct 1st missing and facility was operating that day, incomplete cooling records for bagged marinara.

As of November 1st, the above scores have not changed, but they can be increased (or decreased) at any time, as soon as they have a re-inspection.

If you’d like to monitor health scores, or do a quick search for a restaurant you’re about to eat at, check out North Carolina’s health inspection database here.