A typical restaurant, when everything is running smoothly and it is up to code, can expect to see the county health inspector around once a year or so. This might fluctuate by a month here and there, but, in general, as long as the restaurant does what it needs to do, stays clean, and safely stores and produces its food, the health inspector will come in, check everything out, and then leave. However, that has not been the case for one Tucson restaurant. In fact, this one restaurant has performed so poorly on its annual inspections that it just bombed its third inspection of the year, and a fourth inspection will take place in the coming days.
Located at 5470 East Speedway Blvd here in Tucson, Poncho’s Restaurant just can’t seem to get its health inspection issues turned around. The first inspection of the year came on January 4, followed by a January 17 inspection, to see if the restaurant has improved upon the issues detected earlier. And then, to touch base once again with Poncho’s, a more recent inspection was performed on May 23. This inspection managed to be its worst of the year, with 12 violations, spread between priority and core issues within the restaurant.
For starters, the restaurant had serious issues with its proper cold-holding temperatures. These refrigerators must maintain a temperature no higher than 41 degrees. Despite this, raw shelled eggs sat at 55 degrees, cooked beef at 51 degrees, raw chorizo at 50 degrees, and raw pico at 44 degrees.
Various other temperature issues were cited around the restaurant, and no sanitary test strips were on hand, which are mandatory in order to test the sanitizing solution used around the restaurant. Food debris was also found throughout the prep and storage areas. The health inspector on-site instructed the restaurant it needed to purchase test strips within 48 hours, and that it needed to have all of its cold storage issues corrected within 10 days. This means the follow-up inspection (which would be the fourth inspection for the restaurant in less than half a year), has already taken place. The county health inspection website is updated sporadically, so how the restaurant fared on the fourth inspection will not be known for several days. However, with so many necessary health inspections in such a short window, it might prove best for patrons to look toward other dining options until everything is sorted out with Poncho’s Restaurant.