Behind the Kitchen Door: Short-staffed Mexican restaurant sees high scores tumble, barely pass recent inspection

A Mexican restaurant with a history of high scores barely passed a recent inspection and a popular Korean BBQ racked up several violations when health inspectors visited last month.

SAN ANTONIO – A Mexican restaurant with a history of high scores barely passed a recent inspection and a popular Korean BBQ racked up several violations when health inspectors visited last month.

According to an employee, there was no manager on duty when we stopped by La Quintana Mexican Restaurant, located in the 1400 block of Quintana Road, but a worker did agree to answer some questions about their recent health inspection.

The West Side business has a history of scores in the upper eighties and high nineties but they earned a barely passing score of 72 in July.

“We had a really bad week that time (the inspector) came in,” said Liliana Garza, who works at the business. “We’re short-staffed.”

The inspector noted eggs that were temped at 81 degrees, which was well above the required 45 degrees.

A knife was used, wiped with a cloth, and returned to a magnetic holder without being properly washed.

An employee was observed washing his hands for just four seconds without soap before returning to work.

The dishwashing water was brown and there was lint hanging from the air ducts above the cook’s line.

The business was also written up for not having current food handler certificates or a certified food manager on site.

Garza said the appropriate certificates have now been updated and they’re waiting for a re-inspection. Staff corrected eight violations during the inspection.

“It’s out of the ordinary for us and we should be good for next time,” Garza said.

The Chas Super Market, located in the 1400 block of Pine, is a popular spot for Korean BBQ. They earned an 81 with five repeat violations. Earlier this year, they earned a 90 for a previous inspection.

This time around the inspector noted toxic chemicals were being stored above food. Ice packaged for sale was improperly labeled.

There were dead insects in a back storage room that required a detailed cleaning.

Dust had accumulated on vents in the kitchen and there was black residue in the reach-in cooler.

Staffers were able to correct one violation during the inspection.


Want to know who has good scores and who doesn’t? We have a new tool for that.

Just click this link and it will take you to a new mapping tool we have showing the recent scores for San Antonio food businesses.

The reports go back two years and are frequently updated.

You can catch Tim’s BKD reports Thursday’s on the Nightbeat.

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About the Authors:

Tim Gerber is an investigative reporter and anchor on the KSAT Defenders team.

Dale Keller is senior news photographer at KSAT-12.