Charlotte’s 10 Worst Restaurant Health Scores in September 2022


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).

These were the top 10 worst inspection scores in Charlotte for September, 2022;

#10 Jack In The Box

Scored 89 (B) on 9/14/2022

They had the following violations;

  • Observed employee change task and not wash hands before preparing food.
  • Observed a ladder blocking hand sink at 3-comp sink. Observed utensil in hand sink in kitchen area.
  • Observed mold on containers of shredded cheese, melted cheese, and bacon in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed sticker residue on exterior of stacked containers in clean area by 3-comp sink.
  • Observed sliced lettuce, shredded cheese and sliced tomatoes that were stored in cooler near grill above 41 F. Thermometer of cooler was 50 F.
  • Observed numerous gnats near 3-comp sink and kitchen area.

#9 El Taco Veloz

Scored 88.5 (B) on 9/1/2022 (rescored to 93 on 9/8)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed raw chicken stored above raw shrimp in walk-in cooler.
  • Observed chicken, beef, Pork, rice, beans, sauce, in the WI and tomatoes, lettuce in rep unit and RI cold holding at temperatures above 41f.
  • Observed multiple food stuffs in the WI without dates.
  • Observed frozen food stored directly on the floor in the WI cooler and freezer.

#8 Haymaker

Scored 87.5 (B) on 9/28/2022

They had the following violations;

  • Observed delivery of raw meat and seafood with PIC not checking quality or temperatures of food at delivery.
  • Observed PIC, Owen, with expired certification.
  • Observed red sanitizer bucket holding soapy liquid in basin of hand sink.
  • Observed shellstock tag for clams with harvester date 8/15/22 but no date of final usage marked on the tag.
  • Observed raw quail eggs stored directly above ready to eat food in WIC.
  • Observed cured ham with Safe Handling Instructions stored directly above raw produce.
  • Observed raw egg white on shelf with freshly delivered lettuce placed on shelf directly underneath.
  • Observed pan of Bechamel cooling in WIC at 109f at 1:10 pm still at 93f at 2:00 with a cooling rate of 19.2 degrees per hour and pan of sausage gravy cooling in WIC at 105f at 1:10pm still at 93f at 2:00 with a cooling rate of 14.4 degrees per hour.
  • Observed multiple TCS foods holding in three different line cooler units with temperatures above 41f.
  • Observed roasted chicken quarters and braised pork shanks in WIC with no date marking.
  • Observed various TCS foods especially in WIC with expired date marking including cut watermelon 9/18, cut cantaloupe 9/15 and 9/18, sausage gravy 9/20, and more.
  • Observed case of potatoes stored on floor in back area.

#7 Asian Buffet and Grill

Scored 85.5 (B) on 9/1/2022 (rescored to 92 on 9/9)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no paper towels in employee restroom.
  • Observed unwashed broccoli over ready to eat sesame chicken in walk in 2.
  • Observed food debris on dishes stored as clean. CDI dishes taken to be rewashed. Observed tongs at sushi bar with food debris before facility was open.
  • Observed two bus tubs of lo mein cooled from last night at 45 degrees F.
  • Observed ribs cooled in bus tub from last night at 51 degrees F.
  • Observed sushi rice on tphc not labeled with discard time.
  • Observed one pot of sushi rice still in sushi area from last night.
  • Observed detergents stored on both main cook line and rear cook line on shelves with utensils.
  • Observed large amount of flies and gnats in kitchen area.

#6 7th Restaurant & Lounge

Scored 85.5 (B) on 9/28/2022 

They had the following violations;

  • Observed the following priority items during the inspection today.
  • Observed food handler cutting washed lemons with their bare hands at the bar.
  • PIC unable to provide documentation for parasite destruction of the salmon.
  • Observed raw clams stored over ranch dressing in the walk in cooler.
  • Observed the quat sanitizer at the warewashing sink at 0 ppm.
  • Observed TCS foods (see temp chart) in the walk in cooler above 41F.
  • Observed cleaner stored on the prep table.
  • Observed blue liquid in a squeeze bottle over prep sink.

#5 Cantina Louie

Scored 85 (B) on 9/14/2022 (rescored to 94 on 9/28)

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no active managerial control over cooling and cold holding.
  • Observed facility without an employee health policy.
  • Observed pitchers in hand sink by dish machine.
  • Observed raw eggs being stored over shredded cheese in walk in cooler.
  • Observed raw chicken being stored over raw beef and raw ground beef and ground sausage being stored over raw fish in walk in cooler.
  • Observed unwashed cabbage and being stored over ready to eat taquitos and gorditas.
  • Observed can opener with build up and one large pot, multiple metal pans and tomato strainers with food debris still on them when being stored as clean.
  • Observed multiple tubs of cooked chicken, refried beans, and carnitas in walk in cooler above 41F.
  • Observed bottles of ranch and sour cream and salsa sitting ice bath above 41F.
  • Observed raw beef in walk in cooler above 41F. guacamole in reach in above 41F.
  • Observed facility holding salsa on the counter on time without any procedures available.
  • Observed facility holding salsa on time on the counter in the wait staff area.
  • Observed Facility menu only have reminder and sunrise burrito with sunny side up egg with no asterisk VR required within 10 days.

#4 Hyatt Place

Scored 84.5 (B) on 9/13/2022

They had the following violations;

  • Observed no certified food protection manager present in facility during inspection.
  • Observed bar employee washing hands in dump sink.
  • Observed employee wash hands and then dry hands on wiping cloth. Paper towel dispenser had just been emptied and had not yet been refilled, however, alternate hand sink in kitchen was stocked with paper towels for drying hands.
  • Observed hand sink at front bar with no hand soap available for use and with chemical bottles and plastic food container stored in the sink basin blocking access.
  • Observed hot water dish machine set up and in use not reaching proper temperatures for sanitization in the final rinse. Highest temperature achieved on EHS holding thermometer 159f after multiple cycles.
  • Observed bar dish machine providing 0ppm cl sanitizer in final rinse.
  • Observed boiled shell eggs cooked and cooled in house holding on breakfast buffet in bowl above 41f.
  • Observed cut fruit and cream cheese portions on breakfast buffet also above 41f.
  • Observed back of house upright cooler #1 with ambient air temperature of 45f holding all TCS foods inside above 41f.
  • Observed multiple open partially used packages of mozzarella cheese, open sliced american cheese, open packaged chicken, open oat milk, leftover cooked/cooled sausages, and more with no date marking present in upright and reach in coolers.
  • Observed prepares salads in front cooler labeled for grab and go service with no date marking present.
  • Observed pepperoni with date mark 7/5, cooked potatoes 9/6, shredded cheese 8/11.
  • Observed spray bottle of unknown orange chemcial in back of house.

#3 Denny’s

Scored 82.5 (B) on 9/21/2022

They had the following violations;

  • No certified staff on site during inspection.
  • Employee storing and drinking from open cup of ice tea in dish pit. Cup stored on top of dish machine exposing cleaned utensils to potential contamination.
  • Employee at dish pit drinking from uncovered cup of iced tea did not wash hands after drinking.
  • Hand sink at beverage station being used for storage of soiled blender.
  • Live German roach found in vanilla filling for crepes.
  • Rehydrated cartons of hash browns 47.0 F after 10 hours, according to staff.
  • Salad mix in front salad cooler top 48.0 F.
  • Boiled eggs in kitchen prep top 44.0 F. Brisket in kitchen prep top 50.0 f.
  • Observed TCS food in cold drawers at cook line with no date marking, prep top TCS foods at end of cook line with no date marking.

#2 Early Girl Eatery

Scored 82 (B) on 9/7/2022

They had the following violations;

  • Observed overall lack of control in kitchen as evidenced by lack of knowledge in employee health practices, no sanitizer at dish machine, hand washing, cold holding, cooling procedures, hot holding, among various other violations.
  • Observed no signed employee health policy forms and limited knowledge of employee health practices.
  • Observed various drinks present on top of prep surfaces, next to food in prep, and above facility clean items.
  • Observed employees changing tasks, switching gloves, and continuing food prep without first stopping to wash hands.
  • Observed employee return to the kitchen after using toilet and washing hands in bathroom, and move to don gloves for food prep.
  • Observed unwashed produce stored above RTE food items in cooler.
  • Observed dish machine reading 0ppm chlorine sanitizer. It was found that sanitizer was empty at dish machine.
  • Observed few containers with sticker labels present after wash.
  • Observed ice wand bucket present at server station with slimy blue/gray buildup in bottom.
  • Observed tomato gravy and chicken stock cooling on counter top. Items were prepped 30 minutes prior and remained on counter for most of inspection (~1 hour). Items were 105F upon initial check, and 95F after 45 minutes.
  • Observed tomato gravy hot holding at 120F.
  • Observed eggs (44F), sausage crumbles (43F), and chicken (49F) in various prep units above 41F.
  • Observed vanilla sauce that contains heavy cream that is left at room temperature.
  • Observed various sausage crumbles, pico, collard greens, and milks prepped previous days without dates marked.
  • Observed tempeh stored in walk in cooler with date of 8/24.
  • Observed salsa verde stored with date of 8/23.
  • Observed asterisk present on shrimp po boy.
  • Observed sanitizer container stored on top of cooler holding various food items.

#1 Cottage Restaurant

Scored 81 (B) on 9/22/2022

They had the following violations;

  • Observed employee wash hands at 3-comp sink.
  • Observed large quantities of fried egg rolls stored in re-used boxes.
  • Observed unlabeled salmon in plastic wrap and ground tuna which is used for sushi rolls that do not match the products listed on the parasite destruction letter.
  • Observed owner of facility attempt to use thermometer to test salmon temp.
  • Observed build up in ice machine and food service containers throughout the facility.
  • Observed cooked chicken held with no temp control; according to employee, the chicken was being held to re-heat upon customer order.
  • Observed all TCS items in reaching/flip top unit > 41F (see also (B) below as a large container of shell eggs were also in this unit.
  • Observed no written procedure available for chicken wings and egg rolls, fried then held on time.
  • Observed no consumer advisory for sushi/sashimi fish served in sushi rolls.
  • Observed unlabeled bottle of orange cleaner.
  • Observed live roaches, flies and fruit flies.

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.