Since the Mexican fast food chain opened on Nassau Street in summer 2011, Qdoba has had two emergency shutdowns. In October 2011, the restaurant reported that its water was not working. The restaurant later reported a sewage backup in February 2012. In both incidents, Qdoba discovered the problems after hours and called the police. The police then contacted the health department, which conducted an emergency inspection.
After both incidents, the restaurant initially received an “unsatisfactory” rating by local health inspectors, and it shut down in order to rectify the situations.
The three possible ratings are “satisfactory,” “conditionally satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory.” If a restaurant receives a rating of less than “satisfactory,” it is given time to correct the violations and then undergoes a second inspection. Whether a restaurant is closed or told to improve in advance of a second inspection depends on assessments by the health inspectors and Princeton Health Officer David Henry. Restaurants that are closed due to health inspection violations “either open up with a satisfactory rating or stay closed,” according to Henry.
“You really have to have a pretty horrible place to actually have it close down,” Henry said. “You would have to have things like rats, roaches, active infestation with no evidence that they have pesticide applicator, gross unsanitary conditions, toilet not functioning, no water for more than a couple of minutes or an hour.”
The manager of Princeton’s Qdoba branch declined to comment, citing instructions from Qdoba’s corporate headquarters. The Qdoba corporation did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
State law requires that the Health Department — which serves both the Borough and the Township — inspect every food retail establishment within its jurisdiction at least once a year. Henry said the Health Department normally inspects each restaurant more than once, estimating that each establishment gets inspected twice a year.
Tiger Noodles, a Chinese restaurant located down Nassau Street across from the Engineering Quadrangle, has had to be re-inspected multiple times after failing to receive a satisfactory rating on two occasions in the past two years. On March 9, 2011, no rating was given because the health conditions were “borderline.”
The records contained observations that there was “too much drink/old food debris buildup on [the] floors and walls.” Tiger Noodles was inspected again on March 17 of that year and was rated “satisfactory.”
But just over a year later on April 18, 2012, the restaurant received a “conditionally satisfactory” rating after the initial inspection. This time, the records indicated that “shelves etc. are showing dust debris accumulation.” Records from April 26 note that the violations were “abated” and Tiger Noodles once again received a rating of “satisfactory.”
Shanghai Park, located on North Harrison Street by the Princeton Shopping Center, has had problems with health inspections since at least 2009. On Nov. 6 of that year, the locale closed at 9:30 a.m. due to a second “unsatisfactory” rating and reopened that same afternoon once a “satisfactory” rating had been restored.
Problems included a need for “thorough cleaning,” “spillage of raw food product” and “powdered pesticide splashed in various locations of the kitchen.” A customer had even “complained of mouse in dining room.”
Records from Nov. 4, 2010, reported buildup of grease by the fryers and a buildup of white powder in the dry storage room. A “satisfactory” rating was restored on Nov. 18.
A similar situation occurred in late 2011 and early 2012. On Dec. 28, 2011, the record read “general condition of facility poor,” and it was rated “conditionally satisfactory.” A “satisfactory” rating was restored by Jan. 20, 2012. On this occasion, Shanghai Park had three full pages of violations; most restaurants tend to have only one page.
Managers of Tiger Noodles and Shanghai Park did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
There are two inspectors: Randy Carter and Keith Levine. Together, they inspect approximately 220 local establishments every year.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/12/31487/