Andy's Rest. Scorecard: Best Buffet, plus scores as of 7/26/09

By Andy Wise - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Danver's, LLC, just hit a milestone, and its president, John Golon, probably wishes no one would have noticed.

According to Tennessee and Mississippi health inspection reports, Danver's restaurants have either failed or rated the lowest score four times in the last eight months.

The records indicate Danver's is the only Mid-South restaurant chain to fall short that many times in the same time period.

In fact, Danver's Midtown location, 1468 Union Ave., recently failed for the second time this year with a 65 on July 15.  The inspector's report cites "Mold build up inside the ice machine" and "Waste water leak...leaking on to the floor" around a sink with "live gnats."

The inspector used the word "dirty" seven times to describe the restaurant's conditions.

In an on-camera interview with Action News 5, Golon said health inspectors are being too picky.

"The health inspection have become more of a maintenance inspection and less concerned with the quality of the food and food safety," he said.  "The store in Southaven, we failed that with one critical violation, and there were five flies in the store.

"I've had health inspectors laying on the floor underneath big triple-sinks with a flashlight, looking for little leaks.  And they've found a little leak, and that little leak is a critical violation."

"If you have leaks that appear on drain lines that hit the floor, that's food for insects (and) rodents," said Otho Sawyer, assistant manager of the Memphis-Shelby County Health Department's Environmental Sanitation.  "So these items, they may seem trivial, but they give you a general idea of the overall sanitation level of a facility."

Considering what Sawyer said, I asked Golon if he thought Danver's was being picked on.

"I don't know that I'm being 'picked on.'," he answered.  "Maybe (the current inspectors) are just a lot pickier."

Maybe Danver's folks just need to pick up the slack a little bit.

THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP:  Leonard's Pit BBQ, 5465 Fox Plaza Dr., Memphis (Fox Meadows), 901-360-1963,

Restaurant Scorecard viewers voted Leonard's as the Best Buffet in the Mid-South.  Two rooms, two food stations -- stocked with tasty goodness!

"You get such a variety of different foods," said Sonia Howard, who drives over from Bartlett, TN, for a bite.  "You get catfish, you get barbecued ribs, spaghetti and chopped barbecue.  Great variety!"

"Vegetables of all kinds, always fresh," said Judy Elmore of Desoto County, MS, a weekly eater.  She also nominated Leonard's BBQ server, Robin Barron, as one of the best servers in the Mid-South.

"She is absolutely the kindness person I have ever met, except for me," Elmore said with no hint of modesty and a loud chuckle.

"I treat them like they are sitting at my dining room table," said Barron, with a lot of modesty and a nervous smile.  "Whatever I would do at my house would be considered done here."

Leonard's Pit BBQ is where you want to be for ribs on Tuesday and Thursday; country fried steak & wings Monday, Wednesday & Friday; but catfish, fresh veggies, pasta and desserts every day!

WHAT ANDY LIKES:  Catfish, dry ribs, vanilla cream pie, festive atmosphere

For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, click here.

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