Charlotte’s 10 Worst Restaurant Health Scores In 2019


Even though the Charlotte region’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 were the top 10 worst inspection scores in Charlotte for 2019:

#10 Cottage 

Scored 83 (B) on 10/24/2019 (rescored to 97 on 12/17)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed PIC wash hands then turn of faucet with barehands, recontaminating them.
  • Observed food employee touch trash, then go back to food preparation.
  • Observed food employee washing dishes in the handsink.
  • Observed knives stored clean on a hanger, 3 knives were soiled, when knives were removed from their spot, roaches were behind it.
  • Observed food employee using running water and soap. Sink was not filled with soapy water.
  • Observed food employee washing dishes without a sanitizing step.
  • Observed ice machine with black build-up.
  • Obserevd 6 dented cans of tomatoes and soy sauce. PIC did not understand the dangers of dented cans.
  • Observed cooked chicken, cabbage, and large containers of noodles all without datemarks.
  • Observed working bottle of degreaser with no label.

#9 Lee Boiling Seafood 

Scored 81.5 (C) on 8/22/2019 (rescored to 94 on 9/5)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed food employee prep raw shrimp on grill, switch gloves prior to working with other cooking utensils and food prep without hand washing occurring in between.
  • Observed hose from outside being connected directly to hand sink near dish storage, observed hand sinks near bar station, waiter station and grill line missing paper towels and soap. Also observed ice inside of basin of hand sink in waiter station.
  • Observed raw salmon being stored over RTE foods inside of reach in 2 door unit. Observed raw oysters and raw eggs being stored over RTE foods in walk in cooler. Also observed raw foods being stored over oysters and other RTE foods in walk in cooler.
  • Soiled dishes were being stored as cleaned. Stickers films were still stored on dishes that were stored as cleaned.
  • Ice machine contained mold buildup along interior chute.
  • Baked potatoes and cooked corn cobs were being stored at ambient air temps after PIC stated the intent of these items are to be stored hot.
  • Observed cooked crab that were cold holding >41 degrees F. Also observed boiled eggs cold holding in cold hold unit >41 degrees. House made sauce tcs sauce was cold holding out at ambient air.
  • Tomatoes soup in walk in cooler was not dated and was made from 2 days prior. Cooked sausage inside of cold hold unit also was not properly dated.
  •  Facility is dipping raw proteins inside of flour without the flour being under time or temperature control.
  • Facility does not have undercooked foods marked with asterisk which refers customers back to consumer advisory on menus.
  • A chemical substance that was used as a disinfectant for cleaning hood filters etc was stored inside of a bottle labeled sanitizer.

#8 La Romero Taqueria 

Scored 80 (B) on 9/19/2019 (rescored to 93.50 on 10/23)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed facility with no control over cooling, cold holding, and date marking.
  • Observed employees with little knowledge of health policy and unaware of the policy posted on wall.
  • Observed drinks on prep surface and on pots.
  • Observed ice machine with pink debris
  • Observed plates, scoops, knives, spatula with dead fly, bowls, blenders, storage containers, can opener, lemon press, and other containers and utensils soiled with debris.
  • Observed two large containers of chicken stock (one with vegetables and one without) at 43-45F from the evening before.
  • Observed reach in unit that was holding TCS products at 41-50F.
  • Observed watermelon and cut melon and papaya on juice side holding above 41F.
  • Observed beef tripe, tomato paste, condensed milk, milk, half papaya, diced papaya, half melon, diced melon, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, soup, salsa and mozzerella not dated.
  • Observed yuca that was held since 9/9, salsa and cocktail sauce with two different wrong dates.
  • Observed dead roaches in reach in units and dead fly on cooking utensil.

#7 Boiling Pot/China GoGo

Scored 80 (B) on 3/10/2019 (rescored a 92 on 12/31)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed overall lack of control in kitchen based on improper handwashing, improper glove usage, lack of cold holding, lack of hot holding, lack of cooling, and cross-contamination issues.
  • Observed employees wash hands and turn off faucet with bare hands, therefore recontaminating hands.
  • Observed front of house employees don gloves with no handwash.
  • Observed unwashed produce stored over ready to eat foods in coolers throughout the facility.
  • Observed raw beef, raw chicken, and raw pork comingled in same pan in reach in freezer. Keep species separate and store based on final cook temperatures.
  • Observed staff slice raw beef and then raw chicken on the same slicer with no cleaning between proteins.
  • Observed front of house employees doff gloves, serve food to customer, come back and don same gloves.
  • Observed raw eggs stored over vegetables in walk in.
  • Observed slicer with heavy debris build up.
  • Observed can opener blade with food build up.
  • Observed quat sanitizer dispenser dispensing sanitizer below 200ppm.
  • Observed fried tofu at 100F after 4 hours; miso soup cooling at a rate of .37F/min, and kimchi soup cooling at a rate of .31F/min in first cooling parameter.
  • Observed bus tubs of rice and chicken cooling from yesterday still at 47F.
  • Observed bus tub of chicken still at 81F after 4 hours.
  • Observed soups below 135F on stove with burners turned off.
  • Observed several food items holding above 41F (beef, cabbage, shrimp sauce, pork, noodles) throughout facility and many above 45F (tofu, chicken, fried rice, fried taro, fried tofu, cheese, sausage, blue crab, crawfish, calamari, mussels, shrimp, clams).
  • Observed several items held more than 24 hours with no date marking.
  • Observed cabbage, black fungus, and tofu held on TPHC with no time labeling.

#6 Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant

3542 Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd, Charlotte NC 28216
Scored 78 (C) on 12/16/2019 (rescored a 96.50 on 12/20)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed food employee handle raw beef then grab raw onions out of the drawer.
  • Observed food employee BHC tortillas and go to prepare it.
  • Observed unwashed mushrooms being cooked and served.
  • Observed cooked ham stored under raw fish/shrimp.
  • Observed unwashed mushrooms being cooked and stored above RTE onions and peppers.
  • Observed dish machine being used (3-comp sink is only used for a pre-wash because employee is allergic to bleach) and the dishmachine pulling 0ppm, employee does not know how to use test strips.
  • Observed 3 soiled knives and lemon squezzer being stored as clean.
  • Observed chicken burritos and chimichangas stored next to fryer, all above 50F.
  • Observed a large batch of chicken at 42F in plstic and covered in WIC, made yesterday.
  • Observed salsa in to go containers on ice at 48F with no time stamps.

#5 Ink N Ivy 

Scored 78 (C) on 1/9/2019 (rescored a 94.5 on 10/29)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed overall lack of control in the kitchen and bar areas as evidenced by barehand contact of ready to eat foods, cold holding issues, dish issues, date marking issues, and food and utensil storage.
  • Observed many dead cockroaches in liquor room.
  • Observed bartenders repeatedly bus eating areas/cups/plates/utensils and then load and unload dishwashers with no handwash.
  • Observed employee handle money and bus customer eating area and then directly move to barehanding fruit into a drink.
  • Observed bar tenders bare hand fruit into customer drinks.
  • Observed no soap at bar hand sink.
  • Observed paper towel dispenser battery go dead partway through inspection.
  • Observed raw shrimp out of commercial packaging stored over ready to eat foods in reach in freezer.
  • Observed raw bacon over ready to eat foods in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed raw shell eggs, and raw pooled eggs stored over butter in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed no dish machine in facility to be pulling sanitizer during inspection (all 3).
  • Observed many dishes stored as clean with heavy food debris, pooled water with food debris in it on food contact surfaces, dishes with greasy films on them, and dishes with plastic remaining on them from being wrapped and baked with a cover.
  • Observed 2 pans raw burgers cooling in reach in, and then moved to walk in, at a rate of 0F/min.
  • Observed several items on line above 45F including but not limited to pastas, romaine, and lobster meat.
  • Observed all but 3 items in walk in cooler above 41F.
  • Observed all units except grill finishing prep top, grill drawers, and dairy reach in holding some or all foods above 41F.
  • Observed same scallion pesto date marked for 1/9 in the reach in.
  • Observed many items in walk in above 41F and more than 4 days old including but not limited to tomatoes, various sauces with cooked vegetables, cooked chorizo, cooked potatoes, and other TCS items.
  • Observed some items such as Lobseter dip with no date mark in prep top, but two batches in the walk in, making it unclear which batch product is from.

#4 Las Meras Tortas

Scored 77 (C) on 5/31/2019 (rescored a 86.50 on 12/3)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed food employee handling raw chicken while wearing gloves and then attempt to handling tortas bread.
  • Observed rear handsink being used to stored utensils and equipment, blocking handwashing access.
  • Observed raw pastor stored over RTE beef.
  • Observed several employees washing gloves instead of hands during inspection.
  • Observed black beans and refried beans reheating in steam well since 9AM with some parts of food still 103-112F.
  • Observed black salsa roja cooling from previous day at 51F and beef from previous day cooled to 47F.
  • Observed black beans, salsa verde , salsa roja, cut lettuce, cut tomatoes and habanero salsa cold holding at 52-56F in salsa bar.
  • Observed no date on salsa roja, salsa verde, chile arbol, cooked chicken and other TCS foods without date marking from 1-3 days prior.

#3 Sheraton Hotel Bar & Kitchen

Scored 77 (C) on 2/7/2019 (rescored a 93 (A) on 2/21)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed a pattern of no active managerial control over (C)-employees complying with the NC Food Code, (G)-cooling, (H)-consumer advisory for undercooked foods, and (I)-sanitizing multi-use equipment and utensils.
  • Observed one dead juvenile roach in the kitchen.
  • Observed soap at one handsink but sanitizer labeled as soap in two other hand sinks. No soap was available at either of those sinks.
  • Observed several portioned and wrapped packages of moldy cheese stored in line coolers for use.
  • Observed raw chicken stored above raw beef.
  • Observed raw eggs stored above ready to eat foods.
  • Observed unwashed produce stored above ready to eat foods.
  • Observed many food containers throughout kitchen stored uncovered but not because they were still cooling.
  • Observed soiled equipment and utensils stored as clean – shakers at bar, metal pans on racks, food processor.
  • Observed bar glass washer dispensing no sanitizer into final rinse.
  • Observed two deep containers of crab soup in walk in cooler.
  • Observed link sausage on buffet measuring 127F and potatoes hot holding at 129F on stovetop.
  • Observed nearly all items stored over ice on cook line measured above 41F, many as high as 70F.
  • Observed no date marking on almost all small pans on cook line, many pans in undercounter coolers and prep coolers, and many pans or trays in walk in coolers. Items ranged from cooked meats and vegetables to cut leafy greens, cut melons, and opened ready to eat foods.
  • Observed expired foods available for sale – cheese dated January 19 and pork shank cooked and dated January 18.
  • Observed newly printed menus lacking disclosure for eggs cooked to order and for ribeye steak offered undercooked.
  • Observed unlabeled spray bottle of cleaner at dishwasher area and unlabeled square clear pan of sanitizer with wiping cloth stored in it on the line in the kitchen as well as unlabeled red bucket of sanitizer in kitchen.

#2 Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant 

Scored 76.5 (C) on 7/26/2019 (rescored a 95 on 11/27)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed the facility was not able to provide any information about an employee health policy and the training of their employees.
  • Observed an employee put on gloves without washing their hands while still wearing their purse upon coming to work.
  • Observed an employee wipe their gloves on their towel around their waist and also touch the dirty dishes in the dish area before returning to food and not washing their hands upon changing gloves.
  • Observed an employee was mixing beans that were to be cooked with her hand an arm almost down to her elbow.
  • Observed a seafood haccp letter for shrimp but no mention of parasites.
  • Observed unwashed and washed produce mixed together on shelves. Keep washed over unwashed produce.
  • Observed red sauce at 75F degrees after over 2 hours of cooling.
  • Observed whole chickens were as low as 115F and falling in temperature as they are put in a metal box that does not have any temperature control.
  • Observed the entire walk-in cooler was holding at 43F. This is a repeat violation.
  • Observed multiple cooked items on the line were not date marked.
  • Observed several cooked items in the walk-in were past the 7 days allowed at 41F and many were past 4 days with a walk-in holding at 43F.

#1 La Lonchera Latapatia 

Scored 72.5 (C) on 4/3/2019 (rescored a 90 on 10/3)

They had the following violations;

  • No employee present was able to discuss an employee health policy.
  • Observed employee drinks stored on food prep areas and cutting boards.
  • Observed employees handle trash, money, soiled utensils and then done gloves without a hand wash.
  • Observed employees enter the unit and don gloves without a hand wash.
  • Observed food prep occurring on top of the hand sink. A cutting board was observed on top of the hand sink with active food prep occurring.
  • Observed soiled utensils stored clean according to the employees.
  • Observed a large 5 gallon container of salsa at 109F cooling on the counter. 60 minutes after the first temperature the item was at 98F. At this rate the item would not meet the first cooling parameter.
  • Observed no dates on small green salsa containers, cut tomatoes, slaw, cut lettuce, small red salsa containers, RTE pork, and RTE steak.
  • Observed a bucket of sanitizer with wiping cloths inside not properly labeled.
  • Observed hood system, cold holding, and cooking equipment in need of cleaning due to grease residue build up and food debris build up.

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.