10 Worst Charlotte Restaurant Health Scores in September


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 September but were reinspected with higher scores before October 2nd):

#10 Fitzgerald’s Restaurant

201 E 5TH ST, CHARLOTTE NC 28202
Scored 91 (B) on 9/27/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed two different bar tenders handling sliced bar fruit (lemons, limes, etc) with bare hands during inspection.
  • Observed meat slicer stored as clean with meat debris on blade guard and sharpener.
  • Observed black buildup around chute of ice machine at main bar.
  • Observed mashed potatoes cooled from the night before at 96F.
  • Observed several items in walk in unit holding between 46F and 48F during inspection. Walk in thermostat was set to 80F.
  • Observed consumer advisory for burgers missing verbage linking the disclosure asterisk to the reminder text at the bottom of page.

#9 Blackfinn

Scored 90.5 (A) on 9/11/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed container of bleach sitting in back hand sink of prep area.
  • Observed cooked chicken that had been placed in walk-in cooler below raw ground beef.
  • Observed raw tuna being stored behind RTE (Ready to Eat) chicken wings in cooler drawer.
  • Observed bowls used for soup with debris in need of cleaning under cook line.
  • Observed tomato dicer that had been used and cleaned today with tomato seeds left in the grate.
  • Observed bins used to store clean dishes and utensils holding debris on back shelf.
  • Observed cleaning needed on the interior roof of ice machine.
  • Observed chip warmer in need of cleaning.
  • Observed sliced tomato salad cooling in walk-in cooler at a rate of 0.10 deg/min.
  • Observed sliced tomatoes from 10am still above 45F at 2pm.
  • Observed top portion of sliced tomatoes to be above 45F in breading station.
  • Observed mac-n-cheese sauce above 45F on top portion (41 towards bottom) on prep top cooler.
  • Observed walk-in cooler #2 holding foods above 45F including queso, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, gouda cheese, goat cheese, half & half, heavy cream, mozzarella, pepper jack cheese, milk, lettuce, cabbage, and sour cream.
  • Observed sweet potatoes made last night without date label. Observed mozzarella cheese in prep top cooler without date label.
  • Observed butter and garlic butter with time stamps being held on counter on TPHC without written procedures.
  • Observed butter that had previously been out on TPHC saved in the prep cooler.

#8 Loft & Cellar 

305 W 4TH ST, CHARLOTTE NC 28202
Scored 90 (A) on 9/26/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed no certified food protection manager onsite.
  • Observed teas being made, sitting in bar hand sink.
  • Observed no paper towels present at bar hand sink.
  • Observed no soap present at bar hand sink.
  • Observed eggplant tops with growth on them in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed container of pink/white substance in walk-in cooler with growth on it.
  • Observed raw ground lamb and raw ground beef being stored over raw bacon and beef.
  • Observed several items in dry storage without coverings including mushrooms and beans.
  • Observed dish machine not sanitizing properly.
  • Observed sanitizer at bar three compartment sink at 0ppm quat and 0ppm chlorine.
  • Observed multiple items without date labels including cooked corn, rice, watermelon, beef chutney, pork jam, cured egg yolks, lamb croquettes, cooked pork, cooked beans, and milk without date labels.
  • Observe multiple items being stored that were out of date including lamb 9/13, tomato ginger butter 9/18, sweet potato puree 9/18, hock cream 9/18, and watermelon rind 9/15.

#7 Mickey & Mooch

Scored 87.5 (B) on 9/27/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed multiple items in several coolers cold holding above 45F without any additional measures in place to ensure food safety.
  • Observed employees handling food with bare hands.
  • Observed a dish machine that is not functioning properly.
  • Observed an employee handling lettuce without gloves on, an employee at the bar handle an orange slice without gloves on, an employee slicing bread without gloves on, and an employee slicing seared tuna without gloves on.
  • Observed raw seafood stored above vegetables in the bottom portion of a reach in cooler and raw oysters stored above bleu cheese crumbles in the walk in cooler.
  • Observed the hot water sanitizing dish machine not functioning properly.
  • Observed facility holding hollandaise at room temperature and bernaise sauce being double panned in a steam table hot holding below 135F
  • Observed several TCS foods in multiple line units cold holding above 45F.

#6 Essex Bar and Bistro

Scored 87 (B) on 9/13/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employees to not know symptoms/illnesses not to come to work with very well. Employees were also unsure of reporting duties.
  • Observed employee eating on the cook line toward end of inspection.
  • Observed dump grate being stored in bar hand sink.
  • Observed no paper towels present at cook line hand sink upon arrival.
  • Observed several shellstock tags without sell date on them.
  • Observed some tags to be in order but not all.
  • Observed raw scallops being stored in back of cooler drawer behind ready-to-eat gnocchiand pork buns.
  • Observed raw salmon whole fish and raw chicken being stored over cauliflower pure in reach-in cooler.
  • Observed food processor lid stored as clean with food debris left on it.
  • Observed stand mixer being stored as clean with heavy debris in the bowl.
  • Observed cut cabbage cooling at a rate of 0.04 deg/min and cooked lobster cooling at a rate of 0 deg/min.
  • Observed several items in cook line cooler drawers that were made this morning but did not meet the cooling time/temperature parameters.
  • Observed cook line make units holding all foods above 45F. This has been a recurring issue.
  • Observed watermelon puree holding above 45F in ice well at bar, keep squeeze bottle submerged in ice.
  • Observed about 15 quarts of half & half/heavy cream holding at 50F in reach-in cooler by server station.
  • Observed watermelon puree with date of 9/6.
  • Observed spreadable brie, opened container of feta cheese, and sliced ham without date labels.
  • Observed items in sushi prep cooler without date labels.
  • Observed verde sauce with date label of 9/5.
  • Observed cheese sauce dated for 9/4.
  • Observed sanitizer bucket at 50 ppm quat.

#5 Village Tavern

Scored 87 (B) on 9/21/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed food employee wipe nose and then proceed to food prep without washing hands prior.
  • Observed one employee wash hands and then used same washed hands to turn off faucet without protective restraints.
  • Several employees were leaving prep areas to engage in other activities and then returned to doing food prep with same gloved hands without hand washing or glove changing in between.
  • Observed invoices for certain fish/tuna onsite but not all that were served.
  • Observed parasite destruction letters provided with 2017 and 2016 dates.
  • Observed unwashed produce above ready to eats foods in the walk in cooler.
  • Observed several employees with gloved hands switching task while food prepping without washing hands or changing gloves in between.
  • Interior chute of ice machine contained pink and black mold growth.
  • Slicer stored near oven station in back prep area contained old food debris along the interior of the blade.
  • Raw packaged tuna and steak located in refrigerator drawers along prep line were cold hold holding above 45 degrees.
  • Blanched broccoli, asparagus and other plant food stored in refrig. drawers along the make line lacked date labels.
  • Observed undercooked salmon and undercooked burgers being offered on the kids menu.

#4 Metropolitan Cafe

Scored 86.5 (B) on 9/27/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed raw chicken being stored over raw beef reach in cooler.
  • Observed greasy metal strainer and tongs and mixing beater with food debris on them. These items were hanging up as being cleaned.
  • Observed tomato sauce in a residential craft holding at 124F.
  • Multiple items were holding above 45F.
  • Observed hummus and eggplant salad with no date label, but was advised by female employee working at front that both were held for three days.

#3 La Unica Super Center

Scored 86.5 (B) on 9/6/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee handling raw meat then return to cooking duties without washing hands in between.
  • Observed food debris remaining on slicer that had not been used today.
  • Observed salsa verde sitting out on counter at 54 deg F.
  • Observed raw chicken sitting out on shelf below prep table.
  • Observed salsa verde inside flip top cooler at 54 deg F. It was determined the salsa verde in portioned cups were stacked too high in pan.
  • Observed refried beans inside walk-in cooler that were 54 deg F.
  • Observed pinto beans made on 9-2 and 2 pans of barbacola made yesterday without a date inside walk-in cooler.

#2 Fonda La Taquiza

Scored 86.5 (B) on 9/13/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee beverage (no lid) being stored on food preparation.
  • Observed several food employees donning gloves after changing tasks and not washing hands.
  • Observed food employee going from ware washing of dirty dishes then back to food preparation without a hand wash.
  • Observed server cutting limes without gloves on.
  • At the time of the inspection, observed hotel pans being stored in hand sink
  • Observed food employee rinsing pans off in the hand sink.
  • Observed raw fish and octopus being stored above RTE salsa.
  • Observed raw fish and shrimp being stored above cut produce, tomatoes and cooked chicken.
  • Observed several pans, knives and utensils being stored as clean with food debris.
  • Observed several foods cold holding in flip top unit above 45 degrees.
  • Observed shrimp dated for 9/6 and shrimp sauce (contains tomato) dated for 9/5.

#1 Wectec Cafe

Scored 85.5 (B) on 9/25/2018

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed food employees not informed of their responsibility to report required symptoms, illnesses and exposures.
  • Observed food employee not wash hands before handling ready to eat deli meat. Food employee had left kitchen, and handled 3 comp handles for water released, and did not wash hands. Food employee only changed gloves.
  • Observed raw eggs stored over ready to eat items such as salad, and butter.
  • Observed in use sanitizer at 3 compartment sink at a concentration of less than 200ppm quatt.
  • Observed tcs foods such as eggs, sausage and potatoes hot holding below 135F.
  • Observed ham, and cut tomatoes cold holding above 45F.
  • Observed several food items such as pizza sauce, corn, and deli meat without date mark.

As of October 2nd, 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.