Food for Thought Report 1.24 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Food for Thought Report 1.24

It was a busy week for the City of Lubbock's environmental inspectors. They checked out 61 food establishments for food safety and cleanliness, and of those 61 only one restaurant is a top performer and two are low performers.

Sarah Belle's Tea Room at 8004 Indiana Avenue is this week's only top performer. Friends Lori Johnson and Mary Bradley opened Sarah Belle's just a few months ago, in October, and there's a story behind the name. "Sarah Belle's came about from my daughter, Sarah, who was killed in the Greenlawn bus wreck. Sarah and I spent a lot of time traveling around to tea rooms, and eating at tea rooms, as did Mary and her girls. After the wreck, as part of the healing process we spent a lot of time talking about Sarah, and every time we did it seemed to revolve around food, and so I think God just led us to do this," says Lori Johnson.

This is Sarah Belle's second top performance in a row.  "Just make certain that we always look at our hands and make sure our nails are clean. We bus our tables quickly, make sure tables are cleaned with the right sanitizing solution," says Mary Bradley.  "We serve good sandwiches, salads and we tell folks it's dessert you're going to dream about," says Johnson.

Now to this week's low performing restaurants. First, Subway at 5015 University is a low performer with four critical violations.

Violations including:

  • Employees not practicing good hygiene. Inspectors found open food packages and water bottles in the food prep area.
  • Subway was using an improper date marking system. No date means there's no proof it's not spoiled.
  • A toxic spray bottle was not properly labeled. That's a cross contamination concern.
  • Food contact surfaces were heavily soiled.

Subway Manager Sam Montoya says they had some violations, but everything has been corrected and he invited us into his kitchen to prove it. "Subway has a standard as far as doing all our vegetables, but what she wants is everything to be dated with the date that you make the item and the date it expires. So, we didn't put the expiration date at the time, but now as you can see we have done everything," says Montoya. 

Montoya also says they have relabeled all toxic items and have installed brand new cutting boards since this inspection last week. He says he has contacted the city environmental inspectors for a reinspection, and he says they look forward to complying with the health code and becoming a top performer again soon.

Our second low performer this week is Home Plate Diner at 7615 University with four critical violations.

Violations including:

  • Employees not washing their hands prior to putting on gloves and changing job duties.
  • Employees had their own drinks in uncovered containers.
  • Employees were using their bare hands with no sanitizer to prepare food.
  • Ice was being used as a coolant on boiled eggs. That's a cross contamination concern.

Home Plate Diner Director of Operations Jason Johnson invited us out this week, opening his doors with nothing to hide. "We were short handed the day we had some violations from the health department. We've been in touch with them and we're going to hold some training sessions.  We've been a top performer here a couple of times before. We really pride ourselves on cleanliness, and our employees and taking care of our customers. We feel we do as good a job as anybody and you're welcome to look in our kitchen. I'd like to say we're perfect 100% of the time, but we're not all perfect people and we had a day where it was kind of a tough situation."

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