Health Department Roundup

Health Department Roundup: Fast Times

Fast food can be hard to resist. It's just so convenient and satisfyingly self-destructive. Plus, corporations put chemicals in that stuff to give you physical cravings for their processed crap. Technically, we can't prove that. But we can prove that the following fast food places had some issues when inspectors came to visit.

Actually, let's start with a nice fast food alternative. The "Disco" Kroger (3300 Montrose) is getting a facelift. Additions include a new sushi bar and a new cheese station. There's no drive-thru, and the food is probably a little more expensive than an average burger meal, but getting some prepped stuff to go at the grocery store is less likely to make you feel like you're sweating Crisco, which you will (at best) if you hit up Jack in the Box across the street. The good part? Health inspectors found no problems at either one of these new areas. The great part? According to inspectors, the official names of these sections are "Cheese Island" and "Sushi Island."

All right, on to the crap. We're not sure what's going on at 534, 535 and 536 El Dorado in Webster. The Subway, Burger King and Little Caesar's at those addresses were all shut down Friday for not providing enough drinkable water. All three were re-inspected and opened again later that day. Maybe a water main happened to break just as the Health Department rolled up. Or maybe God is punishing Little Caesar's for its crimes against creation and Subway and Burger King were collateral damage. Actually, yeah, probably the latter.

Speaking of, Subway is billed as a potentially healthy alternative where diners can choose from a variety of food-style items that come in different shapes and colors and all taste like the color gray. But the health benefits of the world's largest restaurant chain don't mean there aren't occasional cleanliness issues. The Subway at 1438 Kingwood Drive earned seven violations during a recent inspection, including accumulated dust and dirt; improperly handled equipment at risk of contamination (repeat); poorly maintained walls or ceilings; employees eating and drinking where they shouldn't be; and a manager on duty who didn't have the proper certification. No citation was issued, though, and the place wasn't closed, so Kingwood residents can still load up on tuna foot-longs with pepper jack on cheese bread until they look like Jared, which is to say, like a bunch of nerds.

The worst fast-food offender last week was the Taco Cabana at 8101 Main. It's our favorite chain because of the fresh salsa bar and the Guy Clark connection, but we might stay away from this particular store. Inspectors wrote it up for ten violations, including unclean outside storage areas; improperly stored equipment or utensils; openings to the outside that could let bugs in; dirty floors; accumulated dust and debris; un-netted hair on the head of an employee; food kept at improper temperatures; and the classic potentially contaminated (slimy) ice machine. That's a good number of transgressions. But really, we take back what we said about avoiding this place. We ate a couple times at the old T.C. on Westheimer and Montrose. We're clearly not too discerning.

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Blake Whitaker
Contact: Blake Whitaker