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Health Inspections Of Kitchens Inside North Texas Restaurants & Attractions Are Posted Online

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Just about all of us eat out. But do you ever think about the conditions inside the restaurant’s kitchen where the food is made?

Scott Frazier says, “generally, no, not really.”

Others do take it in consideration.

Allison Weatherall says, “sometimes, it depends on how I feel when I walk in. If it feels dirty, yeah.”

When CBS 11 News asked Weatherall if she ever leaves a restaurant after thinking about the conditions she said, “well, not usually, I hate to admit it, but no.”

Debbie Rote says, “I think about it a lot.”

So do food inspectors. Every day, they go inside kitchens at restaurants, tourist attractions, and other places of interest across North Texas.

In Fort Worth, some inspection scores surprised CBS 11 News. They include Billy Bob’s, which bills itself as the world’s largest honkytonk, the exclusive members-only Fort Worth club, and a restaurant inside the downtown Sheraton Hotel right next to the water gardens. They all received more than 30 demerits.

Elmer Depaula, consumer health superintendent for the City of Fort Worth’s Code Compliance Department, says that is a problem.  “We do have some issues here that need to be addressed, and they need to be addressed quickly,” said Depaula.

Depaula says he cannot talk about specific places, but says when establishments receive more than 30 demerits during an inspection, the city must re-inspect them within 48 hours.

Depaula says it is essential food is kept at the right temperature, and that there is good hygiene in the kitchen, “people could potentially get sick.”

At Billy Bob’s at the Fort Worth Stockyards, inspectors found 33 demerits in February.

The inspector said the brisket on the prep table was not cold enough, the beans and soup on the steam table were not hot enough and an employee did not follow procedures for hand washing.

CBS 11 News went to Billy Bob’s to see if they would do an on-camera interview. The manager declined, but says they corrected all problems, most right on the spot.

When inspectors checked the Fort Worth Club in March, they found 36 demerits. The report shows the fish and seafood in the refrigerator were not cold enough, canned goods and heavy milk were unsound, and should not be served and there were gnats in or around the kitchen.

In a statement, the manager of the club, Michael Thackerson told CBS 11 News, “it is correct that the Fort Worth Club was cited in March for a number of minor infractions. Steps have been taken internally to address the issues brought to our attention by the health inspectors, an outside independent consultant has been hired and the situation has been resolved. Routinely the Fort Worth Club receives passing grades on these types of inspections and what occurred in March was highly unusual. Because of steps that the Fort Worth Club has implemented, it is not anticipated that there will be such a re-occurrence.”

This past March, inspectors found 32 demerits at Shula’s 347 Grill inside the downtown Fort Worth Sheraton hotel. The fish, seafood, and other items in the refrigerator were not as cold as required. The yogurts and milk had expired the month before.

Last November, inspectors found 43 demerits there.

The manager told us they have re-trained employees and made big changes, including the name.

All three places passed their re-inspections.

When asked if people should still be concerned that they got to that point in the first place, Depaula said, “there’s always going to be a concern when an establishment scores very high in terms of demerits.”

Restaurant inspections are just a click away.

That is because cities and counties across North Texas place the inspection scores online. So you can find out how restaurants did before you eat there. Links are posted at the bottom of this story

Scott Frazier says, “oh, that’s a great idea.”

Allison Weatherall says, “I did not know that. It’s good to know.”

CBS 11 News also checked out some of the big sports arenas to see how their food vendors fared.

At Cowboys Stadium, all restaurants, kiosks, and vendors passed.

So did those at Rangers Ballpark.

And Six Flags in Arlington got high marks too.

Health inspectors even go into the kitchens at the Fort Worth Zoo, to watch how they feed the humans.

The zoo’s communications director Alexis Wilson says, “we make sure that anything that’s being re-checked and double-checked so that we’re promoting the very best service that we can.”

The Fort Worth Zoo repeatedly scores well on its inspections.

The Dallas Zoo also gets good marks.

Links to restaurant inspection scores at various cities and Tarrant County:

Follow CBS 11 News’ Jack Fink on Twitter, @cbs11jack