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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

La Charreada manager offers apology

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

One of the photos from the Putnam County Health Department inspection showing raw meat and blood on the kitchen floor in LaCharreada after a roadkill deer was butchered by restaurant employees.
The manager of La Charreada apologized to Greencastle residents Thursday and promised that his restaurant is clean, safe and awaiting the return of its customers.

However, previous health department inspections show a history of problems at La Charreada, including multiple citations for cockroaches and a previous closing.

Juan Valery, who manages all three La Charreada locations across the state, told the BannerGraphic that the employees who health inspectors found butchering a deer carcass in the restaurant's kitchen Oct. 24 were acting alone and without the knowledge of managers. The health department subsequently closed the establishment for about 48 hours and put it on probation for six months.

Valery said the restaurant has fired five employees as a result of the deer carcass incident -- two waiters directly involved with bringing the animal into the kitchen, two cooks and the restaurant manager.

Publicity from the inspection has caused sales to fall between 65 and 70 percent in the last two weeks, he added.

As per La Charreada's probation, health inspectors have returned every week to make sure the restaurant has been keeping clean. Inspectors have found no violations in two inspections they conducted in the past two weeks.

A database of previous restaurant inspections was not made available to the BannerGraphic, though Doug Ehmen, the public health coordinator for the Putnam County Board of Health, said even before October's closing, La Charreada was among the ten worst violators of health code in the county.

Additionally, health inspectors said La Charreada had been closed for health code violations once before, though records of the closure, including the reasons it was shut down, were not available at the health department.

In a July 2006 routine inspection, the health department found cockroaches in the kitchen, dairy products and meat stored above state-mandated temperatures, raw and cooked chicken being prepared on the same table and employees handling food with their bare hands, among other things. Inspectors cited the restaurant for 10 critical and 11 non-critical violations in all, according to the inspection report

In August of this year, an inspector again found cockroaches in the kitchen and bare-hand contact with food, as well as improper hand washing and slime and mold buildup in the soda dispenser, according to the report.

Health inspectors returned Oct. 16 -- a little more than a week before the deer carcass was found -- after a woman called and complained she had found a cockroach on her plate.

The inspector found no roaches this time, though he did find several bags of seafood that had been sitting out at 80-degree temperatures for three hours, the report said.

Despite these violations, Valery said La Charreada has made every effort to give customers top-quality food. He reiterated the assertion that owner Socrates Montano's made in October that the restaurant itself was not responsible for bringing the deer into the kitchen.

"It was not the business' fault, it was the employees' fault," Valery said. "And they have been fired."

No one has ever complained about getting sick from La Charreada food, he added.

The deer carcass incident has gained local and even national notoriety. It has been the subject of jokes at public meetings and made blogs and news sites across the nation -- even appearing on television in Baltimore.

Fines for the violation will total about $700, all levied in the form of inspection fees.

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Like the smoking ban ordinance in the city limits (which, by the way, I am in favor of), can't we just give this topic a rest? Apparently, the restaurant has complied with the rules, it is under new management, and everything seems to be okay. Why do we have to keep embarrassing the restaurant?

-- Posted by cll on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 2:05 AM

It's not a matter of embarrassing them, its a matter of public safety and hence, it is news. Why the Board of Health could not provide the Banner with previous inspections is troubling. If the business has dropped 65-70 percent, that means 30-35 percent of patrons still go there. Maybe they should read all of the inspections themselves.

-- Posted by clearwat on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 8:58 AM

Well, cll you go and eat there all you want. This restaurant has had many chances to "clean" it's act up. They should close for good. The manager is responsible for what happens in the establishment, so it is the fault of the business. People probably haven't complained about being ill because they thought they just had a stomach bug.

-- Posted by greencastle2003 on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 9:42 AM

Hey guys this is probably the cleanest restaurant in the state now.Inspections weekly heck I bet your kitchen wouldn't pass a health inspection w/o violations.

-- Posted by tiger tale on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 9:53 AM

cll, let me get this straight, you're against cigarette smoking but you endorse a restaurant that has cockroaches and deer entrails in the kitchen, employees that don't practice proper hygiene preparing meals with their bare hands, etc...? Move to mexico. Their restrictive government bans all kinds of stuff and drags people off the street for violations. You can also find botulism, stomach parasites and hepatitis in most of the restaurants.

-- Posted by westforty on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 10:26 AM

I think the newspaper should print all restaurant inspections (good & bad) for the public to view as I have seen the Terre Haute newspaper do - as for a good Mexican meal there's another Mexican restaurant in Greencastle, one in Brazil, & my favorite one in Cloverdale.

-- Posted by freebird on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 12:56 PM

This is very disgusting. I wouldnt think twice about ever eating here. Even if was the employees fault for bringing in the deer, there should have been more supervison over their employees.

-- Posted by flyergroupashley on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 3:15 PM

I beg to differ when LaCharreada states no one has gotten sick. The last time I ate there, which was my very last time, both me and my wife got deathly sick, the same night our friends ate there and they both were sick as well. Upon calling the manager on duty he seemed not at all interested. As I said we will never eat there again.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 3:39 PM

I would like the #25 on the lunch menu. Yes that includes venison taco and a venison burrito. Can I have that with ground venison please??

-- Posted by concerned3 on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 8:51 AM

Now after hearing about cockroaches, the re-using the salsa and chips that others did not eat, it will be a cold day in xxx before we ever eat there again. They need to just leave town now.

-- Posted by mygirlsmomma on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 4:06 PM

Chances are, with all this publicity, this restaurant has probably got the cleanest kitchen at this time in all Putnam county!

-- Posted by Xgamer on Wed, Nov 14, 2007, at 9:45 PM

If you don't want to eat there anymore, then don't. But stop beating a dead horse, or in this case a dead deer to death. Also there are roaches in almost every establishment. It's just the way it is. Some business just have it under control better. Have you eaten at the taco bell? The few times that I have been there, which hasn't been for at least two years or more. They didn't have hair nets on, and were not wearing gloves when preparing the food. They also handled the food and then checked people out at the register handling the filthy money..Thats why I choose not to eat there any longer.. So it's everywhere. Get over it...

-- Posted by coconut9092 on Fri, Nov 16, 2007, at 5:23 PM

Coconut is correct, the problem seems to be everywhere, only because it's met with complacency and $700.00 fines on the rare occasions that health inspectors actually bust them (about the same cost of an emergency room visit and follow up care after being poisoned. a condition that is practically impossible to prove where it came from). As long as people continue to "get over it" and accept the decline of quality that is happening not only in the restaurant industry but to all goods and services available to the American consumer, our way of life will continue to erode.

This is a big deal, especially after numerous violations (the deer carcass being the least of them. At least the meat was all natural, no bovine steroids or chemical additives). I'm furious that the county was even allowing this establishment to operate at the time of the last infraction and even more upset that local people will continue to spend money there, enabling them to possibly injure customers that don't know the history of the place.

Beating a dead horse is better than eating one.

-- Posted by westforty on Fri, Nov 16, 2007, at 10:55 PM

Has everyone forgot about the DNR officer that helped with the delivery of the " ROAD KILL " ??? Was he fired along with the poor restaurant worker's? Or maybe he is above them...being a Indiana STATE WORKER !! Makes me sick. I thought the DNR were respectful. Hope PETA finds out about this story.

-- Posted by fourhorses on Sat, Nov 17, 2007, at 3:35 AM


-- Posted by Michele1953 on Sat, Nov 17, 2007, at 6:03 PM

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