Behind the Kitchen Door: Roach infestation results in temporary closure of Southwest Side restaurant

Benjamin’s Kitchen allowed to re-open after hiring pest control, thorough cleaning

SAN ANTONIO – A roach infestation forced health inspectors to temporarily shut down a Southwest Side restaurant following a May inspection.

One of the owners told KSAT Investigates reporter Tim Gerber he’s working hard to win back his customers and keep things clean behind the kitchen door.

Benjamin’s Kitchen

Benjamin’s Kitchen, located in the 12800 block of Fischer Road, earned an 80 on their May inspection. They were also forced to shut down due to a significant roach problem.

According to the inspection report, live and dead roaches were found in several areas and crevices in the kitchen and behind equipment. Roaches were also seen crawling around uncovered food.

The business was also in need of some serious cleaning. The inspector noting: a detailed cleaning is required to remove a build-up of grease, dust, and debris.

The inspector suspended their license and gave them a long list of violations to correct before being allowed to re-open.

The restaurant was open for business when Gerber stopped by this week to ask some questions.

Initially, co-owner Benjamin Gomez didn’t want to talk but then agreed to go outside. He said they were closed for three days to clean and deal with the roach problem.

“We’ve solved the issue. We’ve had exterminators come out and the inspector has come out and verified that we have taken care of everything,” Gomez said.

Gomez said he’s still working with the inspector and hopes his customers give them a second chance.

“We’re very close with our customers and we obviously care about them because this is our livelihood,” Gomez said. “As far as all the issues, they have been dealt with and we hope it doesn’t happen again.”

Saltgrass Steak House

Saltgrass Steak House, in the 2800 block of Cinema Ridge, got a 76 on their May inspection.

Pest activity was evident throughout the establishment, including live and dead roaches.

Cheese was found stored next to raw burgers and steaks in a cold hold drawer.

The dishwashing machine in use to clean dishes had no solution in the container and the dishes not being properly sanitized.

A dirty salad bowl and tongs were stored on top of clean salad plated in a cold plate holder unit.

An employee was observed touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands.

A speaker and employee items were found on the food prep table next to food being prepared.

Multiple food items were kept in use past their expiration dates.

A re-inspection was ordered.

Wing Daddy’s Sauce House

Wing Daddy’s Sauce House, at 903 E Bitters Road, got an 82 on their May inspection.

Unspecified pests were flying around in the kitchen, a kitchen worker wasn’t wearing a hair restraint and a cup was found stored in sauce.

The business was unable to show proof of food manager and food handler certifications and the permit they had posted was expired.

Score Guide

100-90 = A (Very Good to Acceptable)

89-80 = B (Acceptable to Marginal)

79 or lower = C (Marginal to Poor)

*Metro Health indicates that scores of 69 or lower are failing scores

Other scores from this week of inspections

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, 100
3327 SE Military Dr
Dominos Pizza, 100
2770 E Evans Rd
Taco Bell, 100
21118 US Hwy 281 S
Bangin Beanz Coffee, 100
710 S Acme Rd
First Watch, 100
700 E Sonterra Blvd
Nopal Mexican Restaurant, 99
1699 Rigsby Ave
Pompeii Italian Grill, 98
16109 Nacogdoches Rd
54th Street Restaurant & Drafthouse, 97
7307 S New Braunfels Ave
Asoko Sushi, 96
12055 Vance Jackson Rd
Hacienda Vallarta Mexican Restaurant, 95
9819 Marbach Rd
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, 94
910 Probandt St
El Santo Remedio, 93
514 Pleasanton Rd
Cocula Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, 92
4849 Roosevelt Ave
Culebra Meat Market 91
1662 Encino Rio
Little Orient Express, 90
3403 Roland Rd

Want to know who has good scores and who doesn’t? KSAT 12 has a new tool for that.

Just click this link, and it will take you to a new mapping tool we have showing the recent scores for San Antonio food businesses.

The reports go back six months and are frequently updated.

You can catch Tim’s BKD reports Thursdays on the Nightbeat.


Watch other Behind the Kitchen Door stories here

Behind the Kitchen Door image. (KSAT)

About the Authors

Dale Keller is senior news photographer at KSAT-12.

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