Behind the Kitchen Door: Roaches, dirty conditions earn North Side cafe low health score

SA Cafe improved on 2022 inspection score, still racked up several critical violations

SAN ANTONIO – Two San Antonio restaurants with a history of lower scores found themselves with plenty of corrections to make after health inspectors found several violations during their May inspections.

Another popular San Antonio restaurant may wish they could go back in time to avoid their mistakes.

SA Cafe

SA Cafe, located in the 20000 block of Highway 281 North, got a 77 on their recent May inspection. That’s a big improvement over the failing 66 they had last year when they were first featured on KSAT’s Behind The Kitchen Door.

They were told to stop using a cooler that wasn’t cool enough.

The kitchen had live roaches and unapproved chemicals, including residential-grade pest control products and mothballs.

Containers with food inside were found stored on the floor.

The only available hand sink for food employees to use was also being used for washing dishes and silverware.

They also needed to do some cleaning and buy a new food permit or face being closed.

KSAT Investigates reporter Tim Gerber stopped by the cafe this week to see if corrections had been made after a follow-up inspection was conducted.

None of the employees on duty were able to answer Gerber’s questions. A man referred to as their “boss” was called, and he confirmed the permit was updated but refused to answer any other questions.

Gerber saw the new permit posted behind the front counter, but the business still had not posted a copy of its current inspection report.


A tattered American flag welcomes guests to Bombshells in the 8400 block of Highway 151.

They had a 79 the last time we featured them on BKD in 2022. This time around, they drop down to a 78.

They had to throw out moldy sauces found in a cooler. Several more items in a cooler were a month past their expiration dates.

No one was washing their hands, and the inspector watched one worker change gloves without hand washing.

Chemicals were stored next to clean, ready-to-serve plates, and several areas of the kitchen also needed to be cleaned.

Ten violations were corrected during the inspection.

Magic Time Machine

Magic Time Machine in the 900 block of NE Loop 410 may wish they could go back in time to get a higher score. They were zapped with an 80.

Food in a cooler that was out of temperature had to be thrown out.

Food containers stored as clean were still dirty with debris.

Several small roaches were seen emerging from a drain.

Two kitchen staffers were handling food without being certified.

Several areas needed to be cleaned.

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

Chick-fil-A, 100

6565 Ingram Rd


El Original Asadero #1, 100

1327 Culebra Rd


Henry’s Puffy Taco Express, 100

3202 W Woodlawn Ave


Jerusalem Grill, 100

203 N FM 1604 W


Juanito’s Mexican Restaurant, 100

2502 Culebra Rd



2769 Nacogdoches Rd


Wingstop, 98

1464 Austin Hwy


Torreon Mexican Restaurant, 97

1505 Culebra Rd


BBQ Life, 96

902 W W White Rd S


El Gran Tapatio Mexican Grill, 95

319 W W White Rd S


Golden Chick, 94

8534 IH 35 S


Church’s Chicken, 93

2502 Palo Alto Rd


Michelino’s/Cafe Ole, 92

521 Riverwalk


Esquire Tavern, 91

155 E Commerce St


La Barca De Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, 90

606 Steves Ave

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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