Local News

Health Inspectors Shut Down Cary Mexican Restaurant

Posted August 10, 2001

— A popular Mexican restaurant in Wake County will not be serving dinner any time soon. Las Margaritas in Cary was shut down by health inspectors.

Signs on a door and in a window say "Closed for Remodeling," but here is the main reason Las Margaritas is not open for dinner. The Cary restaurant had its license revoked by the Wake County Health Department after scoring a 65.5 on its sanitation inspection. The inspector wrote nearly two pages of violations in small print.

Some of the worst violations include:

  • Condensation from a broken cooler was dripping into prepared food.
  • The cooler and everything inside was room temperature, including raw eggs, chicken and cheese.
  • Refried beans, cooked eggs and chicken were also at unsafe temperatures.
  • Raw shrimp and cooked shrimp were in the same container.
  • Dishes, knives, a fryer, grill and food prep table were all dirty.
  • Floors were in "extreme disrepair."
  • Again, Las Margaritas scored a 65.5, four and a half points below the lowest possible passing grade.

    Five On Your Side talked with the owner of the Cary Las Margaritas Wednesday afternoon. Rueben Villegas says the inspection was "really unfair" and feels the county should have just given him time to fix the problems. He also feels the inspector took too much time in looking for violations.

    When a restaurant is shut down, it basically has to start from scratch in bringing everything -- the building, plumbing and equipment -- up to code. Villegas plans to tear down the old building and put up a new one. He says he will re-open in six months.


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