Dirtiest and cleanest restaurants of 2013 revealed in annual special
Fri, 07 Feb 2014 05:22:16 GMT —
How do you celebrate the year's highest achievement on Food 4 Thought?
"I got a Golden Plate!" one recipient cheered.
With a big ol' party!
Two restaurants stand out in 2013 as the cleanest in the Rio Grande Valley.
Golden Plates are awarded to Garza's Cafe on 308 North Nebraska in San Juan and Cedar House Sports Bar and Grill on 117 South 7th Street in Donna.
"It is with great pleasure on behalf of Action 4 News and the Food Patrol to present to you the Golden Plate Award for cleanest kitchen!" Action 4's Ryan Wolf said. "This is a special occasion, not only for Action 4 News, but all Food Patrol fans."
Each business has had its share of top performer sticker success over the years.
"A lot of people will say I won't go to a restaurant that does not have a sticker on the door," Alicia Salinas, owner of Garza's Cafe said.
"So what are you going to tell them if they don't have a Golden Plate?" Ryan jokingly asked.
"They have to come to Garza's!" Alicia responded while chuckling.
Both owners share an attitude on cleanliness that makes them shine above the rest.
"You can be poor, you can be whatever, but you have to be clean," Higinio De Los Rios, owner of Cedar House said.
He adds how his property boosts thousands of square feet of indoor and outdoor space for dining, parties and concerts.
De Los Rios talked to a crowd of supporters at his business who were there to see him receive the Food Patrol's coveted, annual award.
"I'm speechless," he said. "It's mind-boggling to know that... I don't know how many restaurants there are in the Valley, but I know there's a lot of them... and for Channel 4 to do this, this honor, I'm really thrilled and thankful to you and your station. This program that you have, Ryan, it helps health wise to the whole Valley and the state."
Garza's Cafe has been a long-time fixture in the City of San Juan.
70 years in business, owner Alicia says this landmark now has a new legacy to be proud of.
"I've got a golden plate!" she said to a room full of family and friends.
San Juanita Sanchez is mayor.
"It's a great thing," she told Ryan Wolf. "It tells us that the folks here take great pride. They take pride in the service and also take pride in the community they represent."
But it hasn't always been a year to celebrate on Food 4 Thought.
Chipped Plate Awards are for those moments in 2013 that simply left Food Patrol fans scratching their heads.
Check out this never-before-seen footage from Elsa's on 174 West Robertson in San Benito last March.
"I am here to check up on the 47 demerits... to see if things have been cleaned up," Ryan said to the owner who just walked away and slammed the kitchen door.
What unfolded at Rodriguez Groceries on 449 Ratliff in San Benito last April raised red flags galore with regards to a roach problem.
"I just think he lied," the owner told Ryan about the report findings. "I just think he thought we had the problem."
He even invited the Food Patrol into the kitchen to see things first-hand.
"You're welcome to go back there and look it up and you'll see how clean it is," he said.
Minutes into the visit and roaches appear.
"There's a roach right there," Ryan said.
The owner smashed it with his hand while on camera.
"So here we are," Ryan added. "We're in your kitchen and then we see this right here. That concerns us."
"That's 1," the owner pointed out.
"And you know where there's 1, there could be a heck of lot more," Ryan said in response.
A daycare worker at Bright Kidz on 925 East Stenger in San Benito last October tried saying roaches were really just dirt in the kitchen.
That is until the Food Patrol opened an insect trap.
"What do you see inside there?" Ryan asked.
"Dirt," she responded.
"Miss, do you really want me to open this and see dirt?" Ryan asked.
"Well, if you want to touch it," the worker said.
Tiny roaches appeared on the trap once Ryan opened it up on camera
"Right there, there's a live baby roach right there," he said without getting a response.
That takes us to the dirtiest kitchen of 2013.
If the cleanest kitchen gets a Golden Plate, the dirtiest kitchen gets their award smashed.
New Wave Buffet on 2960 Boca Chica Boulevard in Brownsville is the 2013 dirtiest kitchen on Food 4 Thought with 64 demerits!
The health report from last April indicated a public complaint about a roach crawling out of a shrimp plate lead to the most violations of the year.
Photos showed horrid kitchen conditions.
Things were so bad, the owner threw in the towel.
The business closed forever after the inspection.
Cob webs, a torn awning and a grassy lot are all that remain at the property.
It's proof that it pays to "keep it clean!"