EAST MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - The Memphis-Shelby County Health Department has ordered a Mexican restaurant to shut down for 24 hours after its third failed inspection in less than a month.
Health Department spokesperson Lorrie Clark said La Mexicana Taqueria, 2535 Whitten Rd., has appealed its suspension notice and will remain open until the department schedules a hearing.
Clark said the restaurant failed its second follow-up inspection June 17 after failing its first follow-up June 7. That follow-up came after La Mexicana Taqueria failed a surprise inspection last month with a score of 61 (please click on this Scorecard report for details of the first inspection: http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12628633).
An inspector originally cited manager Jose Camarena's staff for violations that included unsafe food temperatures, unhealthy personal hygiene practices, inaccessible sinks and food stored in a dirty cooler.
The follow-up inspection reports revealed Camarena's employees were still cooking food at unsafe temperatures. They also cited cleaning supplies "...stored with food and single service items."
The Action News 5 Investigators visited the restaurant. Camarena demonstrated how his staff has now separated the cleaning supplies from the cooking items.
He didn't invite us back into the bowels of the kitchen, but a tattered sink sat outside the back delivery door, waiting to be hauled away.
Camarena acknowledged the unsafe food temperatures and said he's prepared to make changes if La Mexicana Taqueria loses its appeal.
"I'm ready to fix (the problems)," said Camarena.
THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP: Wimpy's Burgers & Fries, 3231 Goodman Rd. E, Southaven, MS, (662) 349-7597
Huey's, Belmont Grill, look out!
Wimpy's Burgers & Fries is the newest locally-owned hamburger joint with burgers as big as the smiles on the faces who pour out of Wimpy's parking lot and into its welcome party.
"The people here are so nice," said Amy Cobb of Southaven. She's one of our viewers who helped make Wimpy's the first Big Tip on the Scorecard to win solely on the number of its Facebook nominations ("fan" my page here: www.facebook.com/AndyWise5).
The place is pure joy. You can almost eat your "4-napkin" Wimpy burger or chicken sandwich off your reflection on the shining hardwood floors.
Wimpy's cooks its burgers inside a press that grills both sides at the same time. Singles, doubles and triples are on the menu. Customers order from among three cheeses and 16 condiments, including barbecue sauce, banana peppers and pineapple.
"But the bun is probably what absolutely does it," said Cobb.
Wimpy's bun is a buttered, split-top, sour dough bun. They toast it while they build your burger.
Can't beat that, especially when you pair it with a side of sweet potato fries doused in praline sauce and cinnamon.
"The sweet potato fries with the praline sauce is awesome!" said Angie Still of Southaven.
Owners and brothers Cliff and Freddy Mehler don't even mind customers' corny quotations of Popeye's Wimpy: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!"
"We get asked that all the time," laughed Cliff. "We have an agreement with the bank: you don't make burgers, and we won't loan money!"
Bring your money. You'd be happy to pay today -- for the experience you'll have at Wimpy's tomorrow!
WHAT ANDY LIKES: Double Wimpy with Pepperjack Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Red Onions, Mustard, Ketchup, Pickles; Sweet Potato Fries with or without the Praline Sauce; Buffalo Chicken Tender Sandwich with Ranch
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