Five Restaurants with the Most Violations, Three Shut Down

Polo's Grocery at 621 East Oakwood in Tyler was inspected September 23rd. The inspector cited food being stored in grocery bags. The food was discarded. Roaches were found on the counter and shelves, and rodent droppings were found under the produce. The score was an 83.

A recheck was scheduled, and on October 11, even more problems were found.  Employees were eating in the food prep area, there were dented cans, and weevils were seen. The permit was suspended.  In addition, the continuing problem with rodents and roaches was noted, and raw meat was stored above the beans in the cooler.  Also, there was no soap at several sinks. The score when the permit was suspended was a 69.

Polo's had an extermination and cleaning program when the inspector returned October 15. The permit was reinstated. No score was given.


Joe's Italian Grill at 2105 E. Fifth Street was inspected September 17th. Among the violations, the make table cooler was keeping foods at 60-64F, should be 45F or below. The meat sauce in a steamer was 131F, should be 140F or hotter. The inspector said bags of flour must be stored in covered containers. Soap and towels were needed at front handsink. The dish machine was not sanitizing, but was primed immediately to sanitize properly. Food debris in bread holding cabinet. Score was a 77.

On a recheck September 25th, food in the make table cooler were still not 45F or below. Raw hamburger meat was stored above bell peppers in the walk-in cooler. A cart of uncooked, but covered rolls was sitting outside when the inspector arrived. Flies were in the kitchen, and both flies and roaches were seen in the dish machine room.

Brenda Elrod, Smith Co. Public Health District: "It's indicitive usually of poor sanitiation, poor stock rotation, building maintenance and [no] extermination. You have to correct all those items."

Te back doors of the building were not closing properly to keep pests out. Also, the dish machine was not sanitizing again. And the area behind the building was polluted by grease and restaurant waste. The score was a 69, and a ten day notice was given to clean up the outside waste or face shutdown.

On October 7th, live and dead roaches were seen inside, and flies were swarming near the back doors.  For a third time, the dish machine was not sanitizing. The area behind the building had been cleaned some, but more work needed to be done. The score an 88.

On October 9th, the latest inspection on file, the dish machine had been repaired, but some previous problems still existed. No score was given.


Golden Corral at 420 WSW Loop 323 was inspected September 17th. Products at salad bar from 50-58F, should be 45F or below. Ice machine bins exposed to dust contamination. Hot water at sinks tested to 96F, should be at least 110F. Self-serve coolers tested warmer than the required 45F. Mold and mildew noted and paper towels needed at handsink. Dish machine was not sanitzing by either heat or temperature. Three tubs full of utensils at front service line were pulled because they were dirty. Employee was cleaning sneezeguards with glass cleaner while uncovered food was on display. The score was a 76.

On recheck the next day... seafood and potato salad on salad bar were at 49F and 52F... Should be 45Ff or below. Better refrigeration needed for salad bar. Other corrections made. The score was a 92.


Jacalito's at 2410 E. Gentry was inspected September 16th. Walk-in cooler was at 62-64F, should be 45F or below. 150 lbs. of foods discarded. Tubs of raw meat stored above cooked foods, produce items, and salsas in walk in cooler. Food stored on the floor. One sink not functioning, and adequate water pressure was needed. The score was 77 and the permit was suspended.

A recheck later that day showed problems corrected and the permit was reinstated... no score given.


Donut Palace at 422 Hwy 110 North in Whitehouse was inspected October 22nd after a complaint about roaches. Indeed, there was a roach infestation. The inspector also saw insecticide being stored next to tortillas. There was no sanitizer anywhere in the store. Food was stored on dirty shelves. Foods were declared "unsound". The score was 77, and the permit was suspended until professional extermination.

But after the inspector left, she saw three more customers being served... Donut Palace was cited. Elrod: "The suspended permit is no longer valid. And if they do serve, then we have to file a class C ticket in the court of jurisdiction."

On October 24th, a professional exterminator had been treating, and the permit was reinstated.

Reported by: Morgan Palmer