Starting with the Food for Thought perfect scoring schools, Arnett Elementary on Queens Avenue is a top performer. Their kitchen staff kept a spic n' span cafeteria with zero critical violations. Iles Elementary on Date Avenue did the same.
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Alderson Academy came oh so close. Inspectors found mouse droppings in a storage area there. Aramark runs the kitchen at Alderson. They say an exterminator visits the school on a regular basis. He was called to address the issue and will come more regularly to assure the problem has been corrected.
Now, let's talk top performing restaurants. Fire and Ice Cocktail Lounge at 6202 Iola had zero critical violations making them a top performer.
On the other side of town, Chuy's Tex-Mex Restaurant at 701 East 50th is also a top performer. The folks who serve up breakfast and lunch each day say it takes a team effort to come out on top. Jesse Lozoia says, "Everybody helps, everybody cleans a little bit of this and a little of that."
Our only low performing restaurant invited NewsChannel inside their kitchen to show they had nothing to hide. Mar Y Tierra at 2722 50th Street learned from their seven critical violations, the first of which was received for rice found at 103 degrees. Manager Aracely Gomez explains, "We make it daily and sometimes twice a day and when they came in the rice was outside cooling and not ready for the refrigerator yet."
Also, beans meant for making refried beans were found at 57 degrees, well below the required hot temperature. Gomez says, "They were thrown away. Now, they're either being used or they're in the refrigerator."
The next violation came for employees dumping coffee in a hand washing sink. Gomez says they were instructed not to do that anymore.
Another violation was dished out for raw meats stored over ready to eat items in a walk in cooler. That creates a cross contamination hazard. Gomez explains, "She (the owner) just had to change the seafood to the upper level and the meat to the lower level."
The restaurant was also cited for having an improper date marking system. But now, Gomez says, "Everything already is labeled."
A sixth violation was received for food contact surfaces on a storage shelf that needed to be cleaned and, finally, a thermometer was not properly calibrated.
Gomez says of all their violations, "We take it very seriously, if they tell us something is wrong, we try to fix it as soon as possible and have everything up to code."