SAN ANTONIO – Two local Mexican restaurants failed recent health inspections, but in an unusual move, one of them later had demerits deleted and wound up with a passing score.
Behind the Kitchen Door first visited El Nuevo Milenio Cafe at 7150 New Laredo Hwy. They failed their latest health inspection with 39 demerits. Thirty-one or more demerits is a poor score.
Metro Health conducted a full inspection of El Nuevo Milenio Cafe after investigating a customer complaint alleging rodent droppings throughout the establishment. None were found.
The inspector did find a number of demerits related to food temperature, food storage and food handling, but the owner said all violations were corrected in a matter of days.
The owner would not let KSAT's camera into the kitchen but Behind the Kitchen Door was able to take a look around anyway and saw signs of improvement, but noticed masa was still being stored in plastic grocery bags and pots of food like refried beans were still being stored uncovered in the fridge.
Behind the Kitchen Door told the owner what was found so he could, once again, make corrections and try to avoid future demerits.
Viola's Ventanas, near SeaWorld, is part of the Los Barrios family of restaurants. Located at 9660 Westover Hills Boulevard, they failed their most recent health inspection with 33 demerits but would eventually have their score adjusted.
Here are some the things the inspector found:
- Food temperature concerns
- Mold green peppers
- Raw meats uncovered and improperly stored
Owner Diana Barrios said that her general manager was badly hurt in a car accident. That left a junior manager in charge when the inspection occurred.
She said all violations were corrected on the spot and added that health inspectors are viewed as partners.
"That's the beautiful thing about all of this is that we learn from all of this. We learn. We grow from it and so does our staff. So, it's a win-win at the end of the day for all of us," said Barrios.
Viola's Ventenas was also hit with demerits for violations at their patio bar but, as they explained to the inspector, the bar was still closed for the winter.
Behind the Kitchen Door has learned that in a rare move, supervisors at Metro Health later determined those demerits were invalid. They changed Viola's Ventanas' score from a failing 33 demerits to a passing 30 demerits.
Barrios says even that score does not truly reflect their restaurant and said they had a perfect score on the inspection before this one.
Behind the Kitchen Door looked into that and found Viola's Ventanas did receive zero demerits last September.