Behind the Kitchen Door: Barbacoa restaurant goes from failing health inspection to acing follow up visit

Vicky’s Barbacoa got a 69 on its August inspection; weeks later it improved score to a 96

SAN ANTONIO – A barbacoa restaurant on San Antonio’s West Side flunked an August health inspection but managed to turn things around in a big way by nearly acing a follow up inspection this month.

Meanwhile, a popular South Side taco house racked up 9 repeat violations, leading to a low score.

Vicky’s Barbacoa

Vicky’s Barbacoa, located in the 1700 block of Pinn Road, failed its health inspection on Aug. 12, earning a score of 69. In a surprising turnaround, it reversed that score to a 96 on a follow-up inspection a few weeks later.

Here’s a look at how it got the low score.

According to a Metro Health inspection report, raw barbacoa was sitting in still water at incorrect temperatures, and several produce items were moldy.

A worker prepped raw meat and touched a scale and other surfaces without hand-washing. Another worker wasn’t wearing a hair net or hat.

Laundry detergent was used to clean the floors and vents, and a powder cleaner was found to be stored above the raw meat being prepared. The inspector also warned the business never to let workers wash their hands with bleach or other chemicals.

Ants were found in the kitchen, and pest activity was evident throughout the establishment.

Food items were being stored in T-shirt bags, and employees were caught still using those bags on the follow-up inspection.

Oscar’s Taco House

Oscar’s Taco House, located at 705 Barrett Place, earned a 75 on its recent inspection, which included nine repeat violations.

Food items cooked the day before were not cooled properly, while other foods were not held at proper cold temperatures.

The ice machine had black residue inside, the sanitizing bucket for cleaning towels didn’t have enough bleach, and several towels were found left out on prep tables.

A worker was seen wiping their hands on their shirt and then cleaning prep areas without hand washing. Another employee was using bare hands to touch food.

A large pot of cooked turkey sitting on the floor near a cold hold unit was leaking and pooling water.

A re-inspection was required.

El Potosino Mexican Restaurant

El Potosino Mexican restaurant in the 7200 block of San Pedro got a 78 on its August inspection, one point lower than its score the last time it was featured on Behind the Kitchen Door.

This time, the violations included improperly storing foods, a cook touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands, and a leaky freezer creating foul-smelling stagnant water.

The inspector noted the entire place needed a deep cleaning.

A re-inspection was ordered.

Oasis Cafe

Oasis Cafe, located downtown in the 300 block of Main Avenue, earned an 82 and a re-inspection.

It had some problems with roaches, with several found in various areas of the business. They were told to hire pest control and fix several large holes in the walls. The owner told the inspector he had requested the landlord make repairs.

They also needed to remove large amounts of grease and oil by the fryer that could be a fire hazard.

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 (8/6/23 - 8/12/23)

Shipley Do-Nuts, 100

20711 Wilderness Oak


Rivers Edge, 100

1 University Way


Mudslinger’s Drive Thru Coffee, 100

2404 Thousand Oaks


Demo’s Greek Restaurant, 100

1205 N FM 1604 W


Dog Haus North Star, 100

90 NE Loop 410


Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, 99

318 E Houston St


Dutch Bros Coffee, 98

11398 Bandera Rd


Chick-fil-A, 97

1 Camino Santa M


Culebra Meat Market, 96

7605 Tezel Rd


Freebird World Burrito, 95

125 NW Loop 410


Lee’s Kitchen, 94

10606 Perrin Beitel


Dairy Queen, 93

600 Fair Ave


Dona Concha, 92

3303 West Ave


Ay Chiwawa! Mexican Cafe, 91

1615 N FM 1604 E


Beer King 21, 90

4616 S Flores St

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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