Fri. May 24th, 2024
Bloody burger at The Playground in DTSA
Bloody burger at The Playground in DTSA

Supervisors voted 4-1 this week against putting letter grades on restaurant windows, a method of alerting potential customers about the outcome of health inspections used in most of the Counties in Southern California, according to the O.C. Register.

Do we need letter health grades on our restaurants? Well just look at the recent health inspections of the hipster restaurants in Downtown Santa Ana, which just last night celebrated their latest “Savor” food tasting event (let’s hope no one got sick):

The Playground is supposed to be one of Orange County’s top restaurants. They have 4.5 stars on Yelp and charge $35 for a pork chop.  They are owned by former fast food truck operator Jason Quinn, who parlayed a TV appearance into a food empire. But look what happened when the Orange County Health Care Agency visited them on February 4, 2015:

  • Last Report Unavailable/Consumer Access
  • Unapproved Pesticides/Chemicals/Labeling
  • Evidence of Vermin Activity/Presence of Animals/Insects
  • Lack of/Unsanitary/Condition Walls/Floors/Ceilings
  • Improper Holding Temperatures of PHF
  • Unsanitary Equipment/Utensil/Linen/Plumbing
  • Improper Food Storage/Receiving

They were inspected previously on June 27, 2014 and received these health violations:

  • Improper Warewashing/Inoperable Dishmachine
  • Unsanitary Equipment/Utensil/Linen/Plumbing
  • Evidence of Vermin Activity/Presence of Animals/Insects
  • Lack of/Unsanitary/Condition Walls/Floors/Ceilings
  • Improper Holding Temperatures of PHF
4th Street Market
4th Street Market

How about the new hipster restaurants over at the highly touted 4th Street Market, an upscale food court in Downtown Santa Ana?  The aforementioned Quinn came up with this concept and is directly involved in some of its food vendors.

Dos Chinos was inspected on March 11, 2015 and they received these violations:

  • Change Room Improper Use/Lack of
  • Uncleanliness of Premises/Trash Storage
  • Lack of/Unsanitary/Condition Walls/Floors/Ceilings
  • Inoperable/Lack of Food Thermometer
  • Improper Food Storage/Receiving
  • Unsanitary Equipment/Utensil/Linen/Plumbing

Wagyu Chuck is owned by Quinn and has 4 stars on Yelp.  They charge a lot for burgers that are at best comparable to those you can get for much less at In N’ Out burgers.

Wagyu Chuck was inspected by the O.C. Health Agency on March 11, 2015. Here are the health violations that were issued:

  • Uncleanliness of Premises/Trash Storage
  • Unsanitary Equipment/Utensil/Linen/Plumbing
  • Lack of/Improper Janitorial Facilities or Liq Waste
  • Improper Food Storage/Receiving

When you are paying $15 for a burger shouldn’t you expect at the very least a clean environment?

Ink Waffles is also at the 4th Street Market and they too have 4 stars on Yelp, which also says they are expensive and their food costs more than what you will find at the famous Bruxie, in Orange.

They were inspected by the OC Health Agency on March 11, 2015 and received these health violations:

  • Improper Holding Temp of PHF (60F-120F), (50F-59F)
  • Uncleanliness of Premises/Trash Storage
  • Inappropriate Sanitizer Level/ Lack of Test Strips
  • Improper Food Storage/Receiving
  • Unsanitary Equipment/Utensil/Linen/Plumbing

Again you are being asked to pay a premium for these waffles and they can’t even hold their food at the right temperature?  And their equipment is unsanitary?

Stockyard Sandwich Company
Stockyard Sandwich Company

Let’s look at one more high-priced vendor at the 4th Street Market – the Stockyard Sandwich Company.  They too have 4 stars on Yelp and they are expensive.

They too were inspected by OC Health on March 11, 2015 and they received these health violations:

  • Unsanitary Equipment/Utensil/Linen/Plumbing
  • Uncleanliness of Premises/Trash Storage
  • Lack of/Unsanitary/Condition Walls/Floors/Ceilings
  • Unapproved Pesticides/Chemicals/Labeling
  • Lack of/Improper Handwashing/Handwashing Sup.

But here is the kicker – they were reinspected on June 17, 2015 and instead of fixing their issues they received MORE health violations:

  • Improper Cooling Practices
  • Improper Food Storage/Receiving
  • Lack of/Improper Handwashing/Handwashing Sup.
  • Inadequate Hygiene (Hair/Clothing/Eating/Drinking)
  • Improper Holding Temperatures of PHF
  • Unapproved Pesticides/Chemicals/Labeling
  • Inappropriate Sanitizer Level/ Lack of Test Strips

Why were they reinspected so soon?  Because the OC Health Agency received a complaint about a foodborne illness at the Stockyard Sandwich Company!  You see at the 4th Street Market you pay double for your food but the chorro is free!

The bottom line is even if the OC Health Agency does more inspections we still are in the dark when we visit these restaurants because their food grades are not posted. Imagine if you walked up to the Playground and they had a “C” in the window?  They would be finished!  That threat is what keeps restaurants in Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside County honest.  They know they better clean up their act or they will get a bad grade and go out of business.



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

19 thoughts on “The poor health record at the 4th Street Market is why we still need restaurant letter health grades”
  1. Its interesting to me that you didn’t site the rest of the restaurants at the 4th Street market or the surrounding Latino restaurants, have you gone into Rancho de Santiago? Mis Latinos tampoco pueden mantener un restaurant limpio, but I guess that’s ok since they aren’t charging so much right? SMH.

    1. Sonia those restaurants aren’t overcharging for their food. If you’re going to charge a premium the least you can do is comply with our food safety laws.

  2. It shouldn’t matter how much you’re paying for the food. These places need to be CLEAN no matter what. Sometimes you want hole-in-the wall other times you feel like splurging a little. You should never be exposed to unsanitary conditions and run the risk of food poisoning. I unfortunately had a bad experience at the Filling Station in Orange, thought I was going to die…no kidding. I never went back.

    1. We agree that ALL restaurants should have letter health grades. Food safety is not rocket science. The regulations are easy to comply with.

      It is one thing for a hole in the wall to drop the ball. The gourmet hipster chefs at the 4th St. Market are supposed to know better. But the results don’t show that do they?

  3. I’ve worked as a manager in the food service industry for nearly 20 years in restaurants in South Coast Plaza, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, etc. No matter what, no matter how clean or well managed a restaurant is, the health department will find multiply infractions. It’s just the way it is. Also, don’t let the catagories of the infractions frighten you. It could be as simple as a dirty towel left on a counter top, or no bag in a trash can. It doesn’t mean the end of the world or that people are going to get sick. In my opinion, many of the health department rules are way too nit-picky. Does that mean I don’t think they should be there to check for health and safety? No. Just don’t be overly sensationalistic when a restaurant has infractions. All restaurants do. All the time.

    1. I have worked in risk control and safety for over 20 years. Food safety laws are not that hard to comply with. What we are seeing in DTSA is sheer laziness. That this is happening at allegedly gourmet restaurants is ridiculous. This again is why we need letter health grades on all restaurants!

  4. “What we are seeing in DTSA is sheer laziness.”………. Hmmmmm

    Is DTSA referred to as a little Mexico or little Israel?

    Anyway the laziness is a part of cultural diversity.
    You can find it virtually in all Roman cultures like Italy, France and Spain.

    There is no laziness among Nordic and German cultures.

  5. I think the health department should look more closely to more restaurants like Chapter 1 that place is rediculous n the employees dropping food in the floor n still selling the same food that was on the floor n selling food that smell bad n the chef Robert washing the food so it won’t smell now that’s something to worry about cauz people can get sick!!!!!!!

  6. Man, you REALLY have it out for Jason Quinn. You’re paying extra for the quality of the ingredients (I doubt In n Out uses wagyu beef). You’d rather have a TGIF or Outback Steakhouse in DTSA?

      1. I can guarantee you that your favorite restaurants are probably somewhere on this list of violations. Starting your post with a picture of a (properly done) medium-rare burger is just clickbaiting. I’m just so curious why you really have it out for the guy, seems to be New Santa Ana’s public enemy #1.

        http://www.decadeonline.com/results.phtml?agency=occ&violsortfield=TB_CORE_INSPECTION_VIOL.ENTERED_BY&violsortorder=DESC&forceresults=0&forcefac=0&offset=0&businessstreet=&city=&zip=&facilityid=&soundslike=&sort=PROGRAM

  7. Wow this article doesn’t seem biased toward Jason Quinn at all. Why is that since the last inspection date there are no more violations? Every restaurant I’ve looked up in santa ana has had violations, EVERY SINGLE ONE! Don’t believe me then look it up for yourselves. Also look up Mastros, the 5 star steakhouse in Costa Mesa charging $200 a steak.
    http://decadeonline.com/main.phtml?agency=och
    Don’t just be a bunch of gullible sheeple. Clearly this article was meant to do more harm than actually be informative. If I had to take a guess I would say the editor is someone who is against the “gentrification” of Santa Ana. I’m not some wealthy anglo trying to impede on the mexican class in DTSA. I’ve been in Santa Ana my entire life and I gladly embrace all the change that has taken place and will continue to take place throughout downtown. Is there not already enough quince, boot, & cheap womens clothes shops in DTSA? Mi ciudad desde dia uno, este ciudad tiene mi corazon y mi vale a quien no le gusta.

    1. If I wanted to hurt the hipsters I would have posted this before this week’s Savor event.

      How about the allegedly gourmet DTSA restaurants clean up their act instead of having a cow when we publish their public health records?

      1. The publishing of the records will stop nothing. I’m done with your ignorance, have fun with your clearly reputable blog.

  8. As Gustavo Arellano showed, Jason and his daddy are part of a long line of white folks who despise Mexicans. The fact that these racists provide a filthy restaurant in DTSA just add more insult.

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