In this week’s Restaurant Report Card, a Pueblo Vietnamese restaurant with 11 health code violations, and a Mexican cafe with zero violations in years.
Not so ‘pho’nomenal news for Chong’s Cafe.
Located on North Main Street, just south of Mineral Palace Park, Chong’s Cafe’s health inspection on July 17 revealed five critical and six non-critical violations, including:
- Two instances of cross-contamination hazards.
- Two instances of food being held at dangerous temperatures.
- An accumulation of grease, grime and food debris on the kitchen floor and in dry storage areas.
Chong’s Cafe had a follow-up inspection on August 1, with one repeat non-critical violation. The 10 other violations have all been corrected.
We reached out to the manager, but they did not get back to us.
This is why Chong’s Cafe fails our Restaurant Report Card.
Their last routine inspection on November 8, 2017 shows 20 health code violations. A follow up on November 21 still revealed 11 violations. Hopefully this most recent follow-up inspection proves to be a step in the right direction.
When it comes to food safety, you want no nonsense, which is exactly what the ladies are serving up at The Martinez Cafe.
Located on Polk Street, tucked back in a neighborhood near Bruner Park, The Martinez Cafe hasn’t had a violation since 2015.
“You have to have a sister like my sister, for one thing, who is always cleaning and checking up on everything,” co-owner Laura Martinez said. “She checks the bathroom every time somebody goes in. We just make sure that we clean up after each other all the time. We’re always making sure everything is clean.”
Originally opened by their parents and grandmother in 1948 as Martinez Mexican Foods, they were one of the very first food vendors at the Colorado State Fair.
“My sister was born on the counter,” Laura said.
All kidding aside and nearly 70 years later, Laura and Carolyn Martinez are keeping this piece of Pueblo history in the family.
“We work hard together and we’re sisters and we’re 10 years apart,” Laura said. “We live next door to each other and nobody thought that we would make it, just being family, sisters, and living next door to each other.”
They are only open for breakfast and lunch, and still serving mom and grandma’s recipes.
“Our most popular are chile rellenos,” Laura said.
No cookbook is necessary.
“If we don’t have them people freak out,” Laura said. “They freak out more if we don’t have them than when we tell them to get off their cell phone.”
You heard that right: this is a no-call zone.
“You can use your phone,” Laura said. “You can text, email, IM, but don’t be on it. It’s disrespectful to us and to people around you.”
This is why The Martinez Cafe passes our Restaurant Report Card.