Z-Best Barbecue may have gotten great reviews from the Tribune Review and the City Paper, but not from the Allegheny County Health Department. I got ahold of the latest inspection report which cited the restaurant for 10 critical violations.
The list of violations is a lengthy one. The inspector found hot food that wasn't hot enough; cold food that wasn't cold enough; dirty utensils; inadequate sanitization; and the presence of roaches and rodents.
"There was one dead mouse and that there were some dead roaches in the basement also. They also had flies. They had the triple whammy," said Steve Steingart, the head of food safety.
Steingart told me Z-Best Barbecue has a history of violations. Last month, an inspector found seven critical violations. The restaurant was given three weeks to clean up the problems, but when the inspector returned, I'm told, conditions were even worse.
"We had to make a decision, should we give them additional time? Should we close them? What type of action should we take?" said Steingart.
The health department decided to issue a warning called a consumer alert. The bright yellow sticker goes near the entrance warning customers of problems that could potentially lead to food-borne illness.
When I paid a visit to Z-Best Barbecue, an employee showed my photographer and me around. She pointed out many of the problem areas and told us that they’ve been cleaned up. We attempted to reach the owner but were unable to get in touch with him.
The restaurant has 10 days to fix things up. If they pass the next inspection the consumer alert will be lifted.