INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The restaurants you visit with your family are put to the test on a regular basis by health inspectors. While some make the grade, others are slapped with fines for not meeting food and cleanliness standards.
The FOX 59 Dirty Dining team delved through the latest health inspection reports for Marion County restaurants. Many received multiple critical violations.
Tilted Kilt, in downtown Indianapolis, was on the list. Inspectors found six critical violations inside this restaurant, just off Georgia Street.
Violations included expired pork and coleslaw being stored in the cooler, a gnat found inside of a tequila bottle and employees not washing their hands.
FOX 59 stopped by the restaurant to give management a chance to address the violations. We were told to check back in with the afternoon manager. When we returned, that manager said they had no comment.
We also headed to the south side to visit Taqueria Aculco. Since March, the restaurant has been fined $1000 for 12 critical violations. The inspector found “numerous bloody wiping cloths on counter,” cockroach droppings in the kitchen and dining area, the hand sink soiled due to lack of usage with water coming out rust-colored. The restaurant was also cited because the food handler was preparing raw meat while touching a ready to eat tortilla.
According to health records, the pest problem escalated during a follow-up visit when the inspector found mouse droppings on a shelf. The health department shut down Taqueria Aculco and ordered the owner to clean it from “top to bottom.” But, the restaurant reopened without permission.
FOX 59 spoke to a man in charge of the restaurant. He said, in Spanish, he opened for two days and paid all his fines. He also said he exterminated to deal with the pests. Still, he would not let us get a closer look at the kitchen.
Violations were found during four more rechecks at Taqueria Aculco. The restaurant is still open.
Finally, we checked up on Los Rancheros on the northwest side. The Mexican eatery was fined $300 for seven critical violations. The inspection report mentions dead cockroaches observed on the kitchen floor, house flies throughout the kitchen, cooked taco meat in containers on the floor with no temperature control and the manager assembling a taco with his bare hands.
"The cook was out so I started making the taco myself," said manager Jorge Soto. "I made my mistake and I paid for it."
Soto agreed to walk us through the kitchen and back area to show how he addressed the problems. He said he put in a new cooler and sealed the exterior wall to prevent pests from making their way inside.
"This area was not sealed," Soto said. "That's where I think we were having problems."
Inside the kitchen, we spotted some uncovered meat. Soto said the meat had just been cooked and was cooling on a cart. The floor was clear of any pests. Soto pointed out the new cooler and said it was keeping the food at the correct temperatures.
The critical violations were corrected by a recheck on June 22.
On July 1, an inspector returned to find mouse droppings on a soda rack, a cockroach in the dry store room and fruit flies by the sink.
Soto responded to the latest violations saying he is having his exterminator come in more frequently now.