Behind the Kitchen Door: Rodents, roaches, hazardous chemicals lead to health violations for SA restaurants

One of the restaurants had unspecified “live pests” in a dry storage area.

SAN ANTONIO – Recent health inspections of some San Antonio restaurants uncovered all kinds of gross violations -- from rodent droppings and roaches to bottles of hazardous chemicals that have no business being in a restaurant.

Little Caesars

Little Caesars, located in the 2700 block of SW Military Drive, earned a 79 on its January inspection.

Several food items in the cooler were too warm.

Several chemical bottles were found in different areas of the establishment, including a bottle of vehicle engine coolant.

There was no hot water at any of the sinks. The inspector noted, “Water heater does not adequately supply hot water. Water heater needs to be reset for hot water to flow to sinks.”

Food debris was in the oven and on the floor, and unspecified dead pests were found in the kitchen.

A re-inspection was ordered.

La Centroamericana Restaurant

La Centroamericana Restaurant in the 1200 block of SW 24th Street got an 81.

Tacos Hondureños stored in a refrigerator were temped at 91 degrees. They should be cooled to 70 degrees before storage.

An employee was seen using the hand sink to wash a tablecloth.

A container of shredded cabbage was on the floor near a sink, and rodent droppings were found on the floor.

The business was told to close up holes and eliminate food sources. The inspector confirmed the business is using pest control services but recommended more treatments.

Eleven violations were corrected on-site during the inspection.

China Harbor Buffet

China Harbor Buffet in the 17000 block of Highway 281 got an 85.

There were unspecified “live pests” in the dry storage area.

The walls of the walk-in coolers were soiled and full of food debris.

There was an accumulation of grime and grease on the vent hoods and filters. The frying equipment was coated in more grime, and many surfaces needed to be cleaned.

They also needed to do a better job of adequately storing raw meats to avoid contamination.

Tip Top Cafe

Tip Top Cafe in the 2800 block of Fredericksburg Road earned an 86.

The inside of the microwave needed to be cleaned, and so did the floor mats that were filled with food debris.

The inspector found dead roaches in the building, while live roaches were seen walking around the hand washing area and the cold hold units.

The business was told to cover all items when not in use, including a butter container on a shelf with no lid.

Eight violations were corrected during the inspection.

Score Guide:

  • 100-90 = A (Very Good to Acceptable)
  • 89-80 = B (Acceptable to Marginal)
  • 79 or lower = C (Marginal to Poor)
  • *Metro Health indicates that scores of 69 or lower are failing scores

Other scores from this week of inspections:

Rios Barbacoa #10, 100

8601 Huebner Rd


Subway, 100

8538 IH 35 South


Lucy Cooper’s Ice House, 100

16080 US 281 North


Little Woodrow’s, 100

606 Afton Oaks


IHOP, 100

6031 IH 10 West


Taurinos Culebra, 97

1300 Callaghan Rd


Tony’s Cafe, 95

4705 Roosevelt Ave


Sonic #3841, 98

10831 Potranco Rd


Old Smoke House, 97

5145 Fredericksburg Rd


Las Palapas, 97

1564 North FM 1604


Niki’s Cafe Mexican Restaurant, 94

6125 Callaghan Rd


Scuzzi Italian Grill, 93

4035 North FM 1604


Saltgrass Steak House, 93

16910 US 281


Paul’s Pizza Roma Sun Sun Chinese Restaurant & Pub, 92

5137 Fredericksburg Rd


Reggie’s Tex-Mex Café, 83

2543 Goliad Rd

Want to know who has good scores and who doesn’t? KSAT 12 has 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 six months and are frequently updated.

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


Watch other Behind the Kitchen Door stories here

Behind the Kitchen Door image. (KSAT)

About the Authors:

Dale Keller is senior news photographer at KSAT-12.