The McDonough County Health Department closed Guadalajara’s Bar and Grill for 48-hours and imposed a $3,000 fine after the restaurant failed a surprise inspection Monday afternoon.
Guadalajara’s scored a 63 out of 100 on the inspection. It was the restaurant's lowest score to date, and fell far short of the 75 it received last time it was shut down by the health department in December 2014.
Overall, the inspection notes 6 critical violations and 8 non-critical violations. The Health Department’s Chris Adams said department employees spent about an hour and a half at the restaurant Monday afternoon retraining employees and fixing most of the critical violations.
Adams said the health department acted as a manager or owner would have since neither were on site, which is a separate health code violation.
According to the inspection report, two critical violations were not immediately corrected: the ice machine was moldy and there were house flies in the facility.
Despite the failed inspection, the health department allowed Guadalajara’s to remain open Monday night.
“They had everything corrected. I felt comfortable they could continue. I felt like no one was at risk. But yes, I felt very comfortable they could remain open and that I needed the actual owner there for the closures and corrections,” Adams said.
Adams said he would have closed the restaurant Monday if the owner had been on site. But the owner was out of town and although not required, he wanted the owner present because of the restaurant’s history.
Patrons to Guadalajara Monday night were not told about the failed inspection earlier in the day or that the restaurant would be closed Tuesday.
Adams said he doubts whether sharing that information would have changed anyone’s mind about dining there Monday evening.
News of the closure spread Tuesday when the lunch crowd showed up to find a dark restaurant with a closure notice on the door.
The McDonough County Health Department did not announce Guadalajara’s closure publicly or share any specific information about it on social media. The department’s Facebook page did share the link to its Dine Smart website Tuesday night. Dine Smart contains all health inspections scores for the restaurants in McDonough County.
According to the health department’s reports, Guadalajara’s has been receiving quarterly inspections since its closure two years ago. Adams said the restaurant was working well with the health department and improving. But he said Monday was a totally different story.
“Something told me this was different from other inspections we had done because right from the beginning it was not going very well. Right when we went to wash our hands starting the inspection,” said Adams.
According to the Health Department’s inspection, employees were wiping their hands on their aprons instead of washing them and the hand sink was full of raw shrimp.
Adams said the 48-hour closure gave Guadalajara’s time to get everything correct and the employees retrained. The restaurant passed the follow up inspection Thursday morning and has reopened.