Charlotte’s 10 Worst Restaurant Health Scores In September 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 the month of September:

#10 Famous Toastery 

Scored 87 (B) on 9/9/2019 (rescored to 90.5 on 9/12)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed PIC duties not being met due to the vast number of cold holding violations present.
  • Observed soiled pans and utenstils stored as clean.
  • Observed dish machine showing less than 50 ppm chlorine.
  • Observed potatoes cooled from last night at 48 degrees.
  • Observed tcs foods in prep units 1 and 2, grill drawers , freezer and walk in cooler held at greater than 41 degrees see chart above.
  • Observed staff unable to provide procedures for tphc for hollandaise sauce.

#9 Lempira Restaurant

Scored 87 (B) on 9/30/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no certified PIC on site upon arrival.
  • Observed food employee turn faucet off with their bare hands after handwashing.
  • Observed bowl stored in handwashing sinks and spray bottle stored in 2nd handwashing sink.
  • Observed bar handwashing sink missing soap and towels and no towels available at handwashing sink in kitchen.
  • Observed unwashed produce stored over prepared ready to eat foods in walk in cooler.
  • Observed boxes of raw seafood stored with raw beef.
  • Observed 2 prep units not connected and PIC suspected breaker issue and not maintaining TCS foods at required temperature.
  • Observed cheese, raw chicken and beef, raw shell eggs, pupusas, cut cabbage stored over 41 degrees F in units.
  • Observed carrot and other foods with date of preparation of 9/30 but prepared yesterday according to PIC.
  • Observed spray bottle of cleaner stored with equipment on shelf.
  • Observed spray bottle of sanitizer bleaching out and too strong for test kit to measure.

#8 Pho an Hoa

Scored 87 (B) on 9/26/2019

They had the following critical violations;

  • Observed PIC today without certification.
  • Observed two food employees enter facility and put on gloves without handwashing to begin prep work.
  • Observed one small pot of pho broth made with beef bones and two oversized pho pots made with beef bones cooling overnight at 74F, 104F and 99F this morning.
  • Observed soup and other TCS foods in reach in cooler nearest back door at 44F.
  • Observed bean sprouts opened yesterday and cooked onions and ginger root in reach in coolers without date marking.
  • Observed steak cooked to order on menu without consumer advisory symbol or description stating the steak may be cooked to order tying this item to the existing reminder statement on the menu.

#7 Shun Lee Palace

Scored 86 (B) on 9/24/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed the employee health policies in chinese but there are Spanish speaking employees in the kitchen. The manager was unable to provide Spanish copies of the employee health policies.
  • Observed employee drinks on the prep counters in the kitchen.
  • Observed lack of hand washing between all of the employees.
  • Observed employee handling eggs rolls with tongs, but their thumbs ended up touching the product when placed onto the plate.
  • Observed buildup on several pans that were stored on the clean equipment rack.
  • Observed sweet and sour sauce that did not fully cool to 41F within the required 4 hours.
  • Observed the walk in cooler, and the sauce reach in cooler holding product at 43-45F. Also observed chicken stored in a large bowl holding at 70F. The manager explained that the chicken had just been prepared.
  • Observed no dates representing when the product was cooked in the reach in freezer.

#6 Godavari Truly South Indian

Scored 84 (B) on 9/4/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no certified food protection manager on site. Repeat violation.
  • Observed raw fish and shrimp stored above RTE (ready to eat) items such as onions, cut tomatoes.
  • Observed unwashed mushrooms stored above RTE items such as onions, cut tomatoes, cooked items, sauces.
  • Observed ice machine with black build-up on inside lip area.
  • Observed mechanical ware-washing machine with 0ppm chlorine.
  • Observed walk-in freezer not working at all and walk-in cooler at 47F ambient air. Went out last night.
  • Observed rice and chicken sitting out on counter, rice at 56F, chicken at 70F. Continual problem of finding food not in temp control.
  • Observed basically no datemarking on premises, a few items were datemarked but were datemarked incorrectly.
  • Observed bottle of fabulouso and cleaner with no label.

#5 Fresh Chef

Scored 83.5 (B) on 9/17/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no active manegerial control over repeat cold holding issue and cooling temperatures in facility.
  • Observed employees come from dumpster area and begin handling single service items, handle raw meat and put on new gloves to continue RTE food prep without handwashing, and handle raw meat and change glove to continue working with RTE food.
  • Observed cooked shrimp stored below raw scallops and raw trout and liquid from raw products dripping on raw shrimp container.
  • Observed raw asparagus and raw broccoli above washed produce.
  • Observed employee use gloves to handle soiled dishes and handle clean dishes.
  • Observed ice machine with black debris.
  • Observed knives, food processor, a mugs, and potato slicer soiled with food debris.
  • Observed kale and mixed lettuce from 10:30 this morning still at 50F after 4 hours.
  • Observed grits, piccatta sauce, and pomadora sauce holding below 135F.
  • Observed salad prep unit and walk in unit holding food items above 50F.
  • Observed angel hair pasta, bowtie pasta, linguine pasta, blanched fries, meatloaf, blanched broccoli, and smoked salmon not dated.
  • Observed chicken salad that was labeled with wrong prep date.

#4 Chinatown Restaurant

Scored 82.50 (B) on 9/20/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed employees washing hands without soap and for a few seconds. Employee observed using apron as method to dry hands. Ensure disposable towels are used.
  • Employees observed touching their arms and hats, leaving kitchen, and touching soiled dishes then proceeding to cook/prepare food.
  • Observed employee touch lo mein noodles with bare hands.
  • A few dishes observed with food debris.
  • Raw chicken was cooked to 146 degrees.
  • One pan of lo mein noodles dated 9/16 were found in reach-in cooler above 41 degrees F.
  • Multiple containers of cut cabbage and large tub of rice lacked date marking that were prepared over 24 hours from inspection date.
  • Bottle of chemical in sprayer under the sink bearing no labeling.
  • A few flies observed in kitchen.

#3 Barcelona Wine Bar 

Scored 81.5 (B) on 9/17/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed overall lack of control throughout kitchen as evidenced by poor handsink use, improper TPHC usage, improper holding temperatures of foods, poor date marking, improper cooling, and storage of food and utensils.
  • Observed bartenders touch garnishes with bare hands and place them into drinks. Observed servers touch bread with barehands while cutting it.
  • Observed ice and liquid dumped in handsink on cook line.
  • Observed no paper towels at front line handsink.
  • Observed oysters in pans with no tags. Observed no tag for clams in cooler drawer.
  • Observed raw chicken stored over raw oysters in reach in cooler.
  • Observed sofrito (.02F/min), chicken stock(0.34F/min), and campanada(0F/min) cooling below required rates, for first parameter of cooling.
  • Observed meatball sauce cooling from yesterday still at 46F in walk in.
  • Observed croquettes, stuffed peppers, and potatoes cooling at a rate of 0F/min in reach in.
  • Observed all stocks on stove below 135F.
  • Observed brava sauce, and calamari in prep top above 41F.
  • Observed portioned hummus stored on counter above 51F.
  • Observed cured ham leg stored at room temperature.
  • Observed pickled watermelon rind from 9/10.
  • Observed pickled watermelon rind from 9/10 labeled as 9/16 in prep top.
  • Observed no date mark on roasted garlic. Product in walk in said 9/16.
  • Observed no date mark on chickpea and spinach mix.
  • Observed large container of sauce prepared prior to today with no date marking.
  • Observed no TPHC time tracking for charcuterie station or expo station items.
  • Observed no time written for brava potatoes.
  • Observed facility placing hanger steak with a final cook below 145F on TPHC when steak comes off of heat.
  • Observed no TPHC procedures on site. TPHC form sent via email along with inspection today.
  • Observed bottle of advil migraine stored over prep area.

#2 Pagoda Chinese Restaurant 

Scored 81.5 (B) on 9/23/2019

They had the following violations;

  • Observed 2 employee drinks stored on prep tables next to food and equipment.
  • Observed employees turning off the faucet with bare hands after washing.
  • Observed employees putting on gloves without washing their hands.
  • Observed employees touching broccoli and cooked noodles with bare hands.
  • Observed moldy cooked chicken in the prep unit portioned for sale.
  • Observed cooked chicken in a colander stored in a raw chicken box lid.
  • Observed an employee use gloves to touch raw chicken then with the same glove touch the handle on the fryer basket.
  • Observed employees wearing gloves touch various cooler handles and other items before working with food.
  • Observed black build up on the shield in the ice machine.
  • Observed food debris build up on the rice warmers.
  • Observed several TCS items above 41F in 2 prep units on the cook line.
  • Observed a bottle of bleach sanitizer too strong and bleaching out the test strip.

#1 La Romero Taqueria 

Scored 80 (B) on 9/19/2019

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.

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.