Lubbock caterers are calling it the worst place they have ever had to prepare food.
Grease, grime and gaping holes - that's what a group of local caterers found when they walked into the kitchen at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
City inspectors check restaurants every week, so why is the city not holding itself to the same standard?
The chefs came to us anonymously and provided photos of the conditions.
We took the photos to Freddie Chavez, Civic Services Director for the City of Lubbock.
Chavez said he was not aware of the conditions until he saw the photos.
"From first appearances, there's some questions about it and I can see how someone could question the cleanliness of it," Chavez said.
Chavez says the bottom line is, this equipment is just dated.
In fact, it's never been replaced. these appliances are nearly 40 years old.
"It's just older equipment. It's not brand new and it's not shiny like new equipment would be," he said.
But that doesn't explain a hole in the ceiling and the fact that only one of the four convection ovens actually work.
So does it bother Chavez to hear that caterers say this is the worst place they've prepared food?
"That's subjective, but we try to keep the place as clean as we can," Chavez said.
So is this kitchen is subject to the same health inspections local restaurants are?
The answer, surprisingly, is no.
"The kitchen at the civic center is a rental, so there's not really anything that we would permit for that. They're not engaged in food preparation on a daily basis in that kitchen," Chavez said.
Because they don't regularly store food there, they're only inspected if a problem is reported.
"They get dinged just like everyone else does from the inspection process, so if they have issues with things, they have to get them fixed," Chavez said.
When we showed these pictures to the health department they said most of these were just cleanliness issues and would be cited as non-critical violations.
We asked for a list of any critical violations the facility has received over the past two years... and their slate is clean.
The Lubbock City Council just approved a renovation of the civic center that will include a complete remodel of the kitchen.
The project is expected to be completed in the next two years.
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