Restaurant Report Card for Nov. 15: Mall food courts

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Shopping malls will be jam-packed for Black Friday, and so will the food courts. It's why we're focusing on eateries inside local shopping malls in this week's Restaurant Report Card.

From Baybrook to The Woodlands, Katy Mills to Almeda, consumer expert Amy Davis poured through the health inspections to bring you the worst offenders.

There were more references to rats and rat droppings in health reports from The Galleria than at any other shopping mall in our area.

Inspectors visited Master Wok in The Galleria three times this year. In February, inspectors said they found black slime in the ice machine. In May, they noted the presence of roaches and rodents. And in September, there were more roaches on a wall and no hot water to clean employee's hands and cooking utensils, inspectors said.

No one at Master Wok wanted to talk about those issues, but when KPRC Local 2 asked one woman behind the counter if she had ever seen a rat in the restaurant, she just shrugged her shoulders.

On the opposite side of the food court at Famous Wok, inspectors said they saw a dead rat on the floor in January. On a return visit in July, inspectors said there was no hot water and that there were flies, gnats and roaches throughout the restaurant.

When KPRC Local 2 stopped by, Famous Wok was closed.

Two doors down at Cafe Sbarro, an inspector said he walked in at the end of February to find "a live young rodent, trapped, struggling on glue board."

Also of note in The Galleria, inspectors said they found slime in the ice machine at the Rainforest Cafe and roaches inside Ichiban in September.

Greg Noble, general manager of The Galleria  sent us this statement: "We are committed to providing a safe, clean shopping and dining environment for our customers and mall employees. We require that all food court and restaurant tenants maintain records supporting proof that regular pest control services have been performed at their place of business. It's also important to note that all retailers at Simon Malls are contractually obligated to adhere to guidelines that are issued by official agencies, which include those issued by the Health Department." 

Down south in Friendswood at Baybrook Mall, in August inspectors tossed 36 pounds of chicken and 13 dozen eggs that were off temperature at Kelly's Cajun Grill.

Inspectors said they found slime in the ice machine at the Taco Bell in Baybrook in April.

At Willowbrook Mall, the smell of those cinnamon rolls might lure you right in to Cinnabon until you hear that health inspectors said they found rodent droppings in the cabinets there in February.

KPRC Local 2 also checked inspections from The Woodlands Mall, Katy Mills, Almeda, Gulfgate, Greenspoint and Deerbrook. While we weren't able to find any restaurant with a spotless inspection, none of the restaurants at those malls had violations as serious of the ones we included in our report -- specifically the rats and roaches.


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