BKD Report: Why repeat offenders have not been closed

BKD special report examines why repeat restaurant offenders have not been shut down

By RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator
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SAN ANTONIO - Some would call them restaurant repeat offenders. They are San Antonio establishments that have a history of failing their health inspections.

KSAT's Behind the Kitchen Door recently asked San Antonio Metro Health why these repeat offenders have not been shut down.

Records show The Malt House located 115 S. Zarzamora has been visited by Metro Health 88 times since 2009.

They failed seven of eleven routine inspections and 38 visits were based on customer complaints.

Steve Barscewski oversees city health inspectors. He says they have the authority to revoke licenses of repeat offender restaurants, but a source tells KSAT that has never happened.

"I can't speak to ever, but we've not done a revocation in the 8 and a half years that I've worked here," Barscewski said. "I'm not in the business of putting people out of business."

Metro Health will soon have one inspector dedicated solely to repeat offenders. The goal is to have restaurant managers devise their own plan of action and stop the flood of failing scores one business at a time.

Another way that Metro Health is trying to reach out to restaurants that always seem to fail their inspections is to eliminate some cultural and language barriers.

They had the city health code translated into Mandarin and Korean. Metro Health said that initiative has helped, but Barscewski insists restaurant managers are the key to long-term success or failure.

"With our new system, our hope is to involve them more to sort of work through the issues," Barscewski said. "Hopefully, they can come up with a plan and then they will be responsible to enforce the plan."

KSAT Behind the Kitchen Door contacted The Malt House's manager to tell his side of the story and he agreed, then cancelled two interviews.

A BKD crew visited the establishment and saw multiple violations including dead and live flies in the dining room, food debris on the floor and urged the staff to stop hiding their failing inspection report behind some t-shirts.

The staff moved the inspection report to where customers can now see it.

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