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Restaurant shows pattern in scores

Recent restaurant scores compiled by the Environmental Services Division of the Knox County Health Department show some local businesses did well and others did somewhat lower than expected.

One local restaurant, Monterrey Mexican Restaurant at 11151 Kingston Pike, produced a string of evaluations that showed unsanitary conditions followed by sanitary conditions.

Ronnie Neace, director of Environmental Services, said there is no pass/fail standard for county restaurants.

“This isn’t something that is pass or fail,” he said. “We go in and evaluate restaurants based on a checklist we have. Some of the items have a higher evaluation rating and are called critical items. The score of these items adds up to a hundred. If a restaurant scores below seventy, the conditions are considered


If a restaurant scores below 70, Neace said county officials do a 10-day follow-up to see if a business has corrected the


In December of last year, Monterrey Mexican scored a 65. The inspector noted three critical item failures, including potentially hazardous food meets temperature requirements. Specifically, the sour cream temperature was 46 degrees, too warm per safety standards. Grated cheese in a five-gallon pot was not covered and not elevated six inches off the floor. Soda fountain nozzles were found to be dirty.

In a follow-up evaluation dated Dec. 18, 2006, the business earned a score of 88.

On Jan. 12, Monterrey Mexican earned a score of 53. The inspector’s report shows eggs and tamale in the walk-in cooler were at 50 degrees, warmer than safety standards. The report shows the business was cited for dirty lounge floors, heavy build-up on the soda/juice gun, the lid to the chip storage container was cracked and damaged, and for an employee who drank from a cup using a straw and then began to roll utensils without washing their hands. The inspector also observed an employee use a to-go lid to scoop chips into a basket for a customer.

In a follow-up report Jan. 29, the business earned a 77.

In an inspection dated Feb. 27, Monterrey Mexican Restaurant earned a 64 score. The inspector noted the presence of cockroaches in the ladies restroom, a bottle of glass cleaner hanging next to coffee bag storage; sour cream at 51 degrees; cut red meat at 49 degrees at the lower part of the make table; stuffed chiles and tamales not being protected and no reachable thermometer in the cooler.

Neace said he hadn’t received a copy of the follow-up examination at press time.

Knox County documents show Raul Leon listed as owner of the business. Several phone calls to him were not returned.

State regulations read that the only way a business may be closed instantly is if there is sewage on the floor or no water to a restaurant.

Otherwise, in order to suspend business, Neace said a restaurant must be cited for failure on the same critical item on three consecutive reports.

Other local businesses that garnered low scores include:

• Dragon Den, 10205 Kingston Pike, with a score of 77.

• Bailey’s Sports Grille Bar, 250 Seven Oaks Drive, with a score of 78.

• Northshore Brassiere, 9430 S. Northshore Drive, with a score of 61.

Several businesses earned a high score, including:

• Panera Bread, 11361 Parkside Drive, with a score of 100.

• Lakeside Tavern, 10911 Concord Park Drive, with a score of 95.

• Chicken Depot, 10603 Kinston Pike, with a score of 100.

Follow-up evaluations on those receiving low scores were not available at press time.


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