KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The restaurant with the failing score is in East Knox County. A dozen violations were marked off during the inspection that lasted more than an hour.  

The grade is 65 at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant on Brakebill Road right off the Strawberry Plains Pike exit. That 65 is a failing score. A grade below 70 is considered a failing grade.

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, Knoxville — grade: 65

The inspector writes there were no working hand sinks in the kitchen, which are required so employees can properly wash their hands. When he looked closer, the inspector discovered what was wrong. There were no water connections to the hand sinks.

When the inspector checked several knives and utensils, put away as being clean, he found “food debris” on them. Soiled wiping cloths were also found stored on a prep counter in the kitchen.

Next, heavy grease was found built up in the grill and fryer area on the walls and hood vent.

The rice in the walk-in cooler, left overnight, was at 54 degrees. That’s too warm as 41 and below is the safe cool temperature to prevent potential foodborne illness. In addition, rice and other ready-to-eat food had either no date markings on them, or the dates had expired, and the food should have been thrown away. Buckets of salsa and cooked food also were found uncovered in the cooler.

Finally, the inspector found no manager, or person-in-charge, at Rio Grande Mexican. The inspector writes when he asked employees where’s the manager, he was told there was “no one in charge.”  

The restaurant will be re-inspected soon.

Top scores of the week:

  • Litton’s Restaurant, 2803 Essary Rd, Knoxville — 100
  •  El Chico Restaurant, 116 Cedar Lane, Knoxville — 100
  • The Oak Room, 109 W. Anderson Ave,  Knoxville — 100
  • The Drawing Room, 531  Henley St,  Knoxville — 100
  • Five Guys, 7531 Barnett Way, Powell — 100
  • Chick-fil-a, 540 E. Emory Rd, Powell — 100
  • Tellico Junction Restaurant, 17 W. Main St, Englewood — 100
  • Brazeiro Churrascaira, 6901 Kingston Pk, Knoxville — 99