Local buffet nets 2017's lowest health inspection score

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - It's been a while since we've had a health inspection grade this low. Makino Japanese Buffet at 8217 Kingston Pike scored a 63 on their latest health inspection - anything below 70 is considered unsanitary by the health department.

According to the inspector, there were multiple cockroaches crawling on the walls. The inspector also watched the cook wash his hands, then dry them with a rag. There's no telling what was on the rag; he should have used a towel or an air dry machine. The inspector says the manager was not adequately performing his duties.

Food temperatures were also off: a container of shrimp was at 53 degrees, although 41 or below is required. The shrimp was thrown away. In addition, warm rice was held at 118 degree, which isn't hot enough to kill bacteria. A temperature of 135 is required.

Knives, slicers and peelers hadn't been properly cleaned or sanitized and the inspector found the kitchen generally dirty - the floors, walls, grills and doors were splattered with food debris. Plus, some ready-to-eat foods didn't have a date marked on them, so there's no way to know how long they'd been open.

READ MORE: See the full reports for each restaurant

The next lowest grade is a 71 at Steak 'n Shake, the one at Wild Geese Road in Turkey Creek. That's a passing score, but just barely. Food temperatures were off - noodles were at 50 degrees, sliced tomatoes at 48 - again, 41 degrees or below is the safe temperature. The inspector also found clean utensils in dirty containers, and a dirty dishwasher, so cups and dishes weren't being properly cleaned. And, when the inspector asked employees about illness symptoms, they couldn't answer.

A few weeks ago, Tom and Chee on Kingston Pike scored a failing grade of 66. A reinspection found the critical violations were corrected and the new grade is an 88.

Here are the top scoring restaurants of the week:

  • Buddy's BBQ, 5806 Kingston Pike: 100
  • Roger's Place, 8807 Kingston Pike: 100
  • Subway, 5201 Kingston Pike: 100
  • Bayou Bay, 7177 Chapman Highway: 100
  • Big Monster Subs and Deli, 126 Peters Road: 100
  • Pint House, 815 Merchants Drive: 100
  • Sonic, 4515 Chapman Highway: 100
  • Remedy Coffee, 800 Tyson Street: 100
  • Bojangles, 2469 University Commons Way: 100
  • Red Lobster, 305 Merchants Drive: 99
  • Captain D's, 9335 Kingston Pike: 99
  • Cool Beans, 1817 Lake Avenue: 99

Restaurant inspections are unannounced and conducted every six months.


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