Charlotte’s 10 Worst Restaurant Health Scores In May 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 Mecklenburg County for the month of May:

#10 Terrace Cafe

Scored 91.5 (A) on 5/29/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Cooling on cooked sausage was >100 degrees after 2 hours has elapsed.
  • Several food items in walk in cooler(see temp grid) were storing at 43-45 degrees. Wine cooler unit in bar area that houses milk was cold holding milk at 50 plus degrees. Ambient air of same unit was 50 degrees.
  • Several different cheese spread mixes(Ghost pepper cheese) were dated to exceed 7 days in walk in cooler and in cold hold reach in unit near make line. Cut melons in walk in cooler was also lacking dates.
  • Facility is holding foods at time but lacking proper documentation that backs their process.
  • Observed butter being held at time without a time stamp.
  • Observed several quat sanitizer bottles that were lacking labels.
  • Observed food products in proximity of splash due to leaking condenser from walk in cooler.

#9 Chili’s Grill & Bar #1121

Scored 87 (A) on 5/7/2019 (rescored to 95 on 5/15)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed uncovered employee beverage stored above supplies in outdoor storage unit.
  • Observed employee food stored on top of cooking equipment and prep table.
  • Food employee entered kitchen, touch hair then handle clean equipment without washing their hands.
  • Observed raw shrimp recently prepared and stored above soup on cart.
  • Observed unwashed produce stored above prepared ready to eat foods in walk in cooler.
  • Observed bowls, container lids and metal pans and containers being stored as clean but with heavy soil.
  • Observed heavy accumulation of equipment stored on soiled drain board dish area.
  • Observed house made dressing and salsa stored at 43-44 degrees F in low reach in unit.
  • Observed cheese stored at 43 degrees F at grill.
  • Observed milk in bar cooler at 45 degrees F from morning and unit showing ambient air temperature of 48 degrees F.
  • Observed cooked corn pulled from freezer according to PIC but not date marked in walk in cooler and in unit over 24 hours.
  • Observed Big Mouth Bites not identified with asterisk for consumer advisory on menu but offered undercooked if requested according to PIC.

#8 Morazan Restaurant

Scored 86.5 (B) on 5/28/2019 (rescored to a 92.5 on 6/5)

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed employee beverages stored uncovered/covered above prep surfaces in kitchen.
  • Observed employees only wash hands for a few seconds than recontaminate hands by turning faucet off with bare hands.
  • Observed handsink at dish area blocked by rolling cart.
  • Observed dishes stored inside sink basin.
  • Observed no soap at handsink close to cook station.
  • Observed unwashed produce in boxes stored above ready to eat food and vegetables that have been washed.
  • Observed raw hamburger stored above deli meat inside low boy cooler close to main prep cooler.
  • Observed inside walk-in cooler refried beans and soup in the center of the products at 43F.
  • Observed inside seafood prep cooler ceviche, tilapia, and blue crab above 41F
  • Observed salsa including salsa verde and salsa rojo inside small flip top cooler above 41F.
  • Observed one tub of chicharron inside walk-in cooler with incorrect date of 5/14/19.
  • Observed heavy leaks on inside bottom of main prep cooler and seafood prep cooler.

#7 Carolina Ale House

201 South College St., CHARLOTTE NC 28244
Scored 86 (B) on 5/22/2019 (rescored to 93 on 5/29)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed employee drinks stored on prep tops.
  • Observed employee pick up dropped utensil from ground and change gloves but not wash hands and then move to food prep.
  • Observed unwashed tomatoes stored over ready to eat food in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed chili at 67F 5 hours from the start of cooling.
  • Observed french onion soup at 75F 5 hours from the start of cooling.
  • Observed pasta cooked yesterday not yet cooled to 41F (product was cooled to 43F).
  • Observed one bag of rice in hotbox below 135F.
  • Observed all products in grill prep top above 41F; several products in walk-in cooler above 41F; and products in prep-top of fry cooler above 41F.
  • Observed no time stamp on garlic parmesan sauce held at room temperature.
  • Observed ice being used to keep juices cold at the bar and the same ice used for making drinks.

#6 Cottage

Scored 85.5 (B) on 5/28/2019 (rescored to 94.5 on 6/3)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no paper towels at the front hand sink.
  • Observed boxes blocking the back hand sink.
  • Observed egg rolls and spring rolls stored in a container with wiping cloths.
  • Observed a container of cabbage sitting directly on top of another container of cabbage in the walk-in cooler.
  • Observed 4 containers stored as clean while they still had food debris on them.
  • Observed chicken in the prep top at 85F at 1:00 PM.
  • Observed shrimp, bean sprouts, lo mein, cabbage, pork, hot dogs and raw beef holding above 41F.
  • Observed several gnats and flies throughout the facility.

#5 Fuel Pizza

Scored 84 (B) on 5/16/2019 (rescored to a 98 on 5/22)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed several employees wash hands and then use bare hands to turn off faucet.
  • Observed raw chicken tenders stored over fries in reach in freezer.
  • Observed raw cookie dough with eggs stored over ready to eat foods in walk in cooler.
  • Observed ice machine with pink/orange build up on ice shield.
  • Observed ice dispenser on soda machine with heavy black and pink build up.
  • Observed salads cooling in sliding door reach in at 0F/min and .04F/min.
  • Observed pizza prep top holding foods above 41F.
  • Observed several items with multiple date marks on them because stickers were not removed from previous item.
  • Observed no time stamp on marinara sauce stored on counter.
  • Observed heavy amount of build up and food debris accumulation on walk in cooler floor, and on floors and walls throughout kitchen.

#4 Mi Tierrita

Scored 83 (B) on 5/31/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed an employee water bottle stored on the prep counter not properly closed.
  • Observed beer stored in the hand wash sink in the back.
  • Observed moldy ham and hotdogs in the reach in cooler.
  • Observed raw eggs stored above salsa in the front reach in cooler.
  • Observed several containers stored on the clean equipment rack with date marking stickers.
  • Observed the prep cooler holding product above 41F.
  • Observed several items in the tall reach in cooler with no date marking stickers and incorrect date labels.
  • Observed a bottle of brake fluid stored on the clean equipment rack.
  • Observed several flies inside the facility.

#3 The Manchester

Scored 82 (B) on 5/13/2019 (rescored to a 95.5 on 5/28)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed several out of control foodborne illness risk factors, including violations in cold holding temperature, storage order, proper hand hygiene, inadequate date marking, improper cooling, bare hand contact, and sanitizing of utensils.
  • Observed a cook crack an egg with gloved hands, then proceed to cook several dishes on the flat top, many of which involved adding spices using the same gloved hand. The employee also opened several doors to reach in units and created multiple opportunities for cross-contamination.
  • Observed PIC contact cut greens in walk-in unit with bare hands.
  • Observed raw chicken in walk-in unit stored over top of ready to eat lobster meat, as well as raw pork chops and steak.
  • Observed raw burgers stored over top of raw salmon in cold drawer on cook line.
  • Observed utensils from lunch service (begginning at 11) still sitting at dish machine unwashed at 3:30 PM.
  • Observed spinach/artichoke dip cooling at a rate of 0.34F/minute and cheese sauce cooling at a rate of 0.09F/minute in walk in unit.
  • Observed overstacked cheese and rice in flip top units on cook line holding at 47F and 43F respectively, as well as all TCS foods in salad unit holding between 47F and 50F.
  • Observed pasta in reach in on cook line at 44F.
  • Observed shell eggs in speakeasy reach in unit at 43F.
  • Observed cooked peppers and onions with no date, andouille with no date, half and half and liquid eggs throughout facility with no date, asian cole slaw with a prep date of 05/04, and seafood salad with a prep date of 05/06.
  • Observed consumer advisory on menus missing disclosure markings as well as verbiage linking the disclosure to the remidner text at the bottom of page.

#2 Ichiban Sushi & Hibachi Buffet

Scored 81 (B) on 5/17/2019 (rescored to a 92 on 5/23)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed employee touch shredded cabbage with bare hands.
  • Observed many recent tags without the date of the last shellstock was used from the container.
  • Observed pans/containers of raw chicken stored above raw seafood and beef – in walk-ins, refrigerators, flip tops, and freezer.
  • Observed many containers of raw proteins (eggs, chicken, beef) above ready-to-eat products and vegetables in the refrigerators/walk-ins and at the hibachi bar (stored directly beside onion and imitation crab).
  • Observed unwashed vegetables stored above-washed vegetables. Verification visit required for walk-in & freezer storage order.
  • Observed items in flip top cooler at cooking area >41F.
  • Observed all items in vegetable walk-in at or above 45F.
  • Observed 2 bottles of unlabeled chemicals stored under dish machine.
  • Observed numerous containers of food and watermelons stored on the floor.

#1 Las Meras Tortas

Scored 77 (C) on 5/31/2019

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.

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.