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DIRTY DINING: Expired food and more at Weera Thai

Posted at 11:45 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 02:45:20-04

On Monday's Dirty Dining, Contact 13 returned to the same strip mall for the third time while another restaurant was overrun by roaches.  

The folks at Weera Thai on Sahara Avenue near Valley View Boulevard were taken aback by all the demerits they recently racked up.

"I don't know how we get C," Arunothai Maron said.
The restaurant had 39 demerits, just two shy of shutdown.

"Yeah, it's not good to appear on the Dirty Dining, but we fix everything right," Arunothai said.

That 39-dermit C grade wasn't so much because the place was "dirty," but there were a lot of dangers to public health due to improper food handling and storage and unsafe temperatures.

Arunothai said the staff just couldn't keep it together when inspectors came in.

"Yeah, got nervous and then when the inspector come in they don't know, like, you know, they cannot, um, concentrate what they doing and then it just put everything switch and then whatever, yeah," he said.

Inspectors found a food handler cutting apples and lettuce for salad with bare hands. A large bowl of cooked beef was stored with dirty dishes in the sink. And there was a carton of liquid eggs in the fridge that was two weeks expired.

"We didn't use that," Arunothai said. "Actually they try to -- because normally we use the fresh egg, the whole one, not the liquid one. Yeah, we didn't use that egg. Yeah. And then we just throw it away."

And the edible flowers that were a week past their use-by date?

"Normally I tell every customer don't eat the flower even though the label said edible, but cannot eat, yeah," Arunothai said.

Inspectors found multiple foods stored at improper temperatures including raw eggs, cut tomatoes and creamer. All had to be thrown out.

Raw poultry was stored directly over raw beef in the walk-in cooler and multiple food containers were stored directly on top of ready-to-eat lettuce.

There was also a repeat violation for no sanitizer in the sink during active warewashing and not enough sanitizer in buckets.

"Yeah, I think normally we did but I think maybe between they drain out the water and they put the new one and, you know, she might have forgot or she about to do that but inspector come in first," Arunothai said.

In addition, inspectors also found an employee eating and drinking over food prep surfaces during active food preparation. There was seafood and squid in standing water along with fly zappers directly over the rice cooker and clean dishware rack.

So have they cleaned things up? Dirty Dining was not allowed to check as no cameras were allowed in the kitchen.  

But Weera Thai did get their A grade back so Arunothai has a message for patrons.
"Yeah, don't worry about -- food clean, everything fresh, our stuff nice, just come and eat," he said.

Meanwhile, this week's imminent health hazard closure came at Axum Ethiopian Restaurant near Twain Avenue and Swenson Drive. Axum was shut down for a multigenerational cockroach infestation.

Inspectors saw about 30 live roaches roaming the kitchen -- climbing on walls, on the drainboard of the 3-compartment sink, the prep table near a cutting board and even in a cardboard box used to store bread.

The restaurant had no records of pest control. The kitchen was also dirty with old food debris all over the floor.
Axum Ethiopian is back to a zero-demerit A grade.