A Northern Colorado Mexican restaurant with a horrible food inspection record was ordered to immediately shut down Monday by county commissioners.

For the second time in as many years, operations at Almanza’s Mexican Food at 2502 8th Ave. in Garden City, CO, were suspended by the Board of Weld County Commissioners for repeated health code violations.

The Weld County Department of Public Health asked the commissuioners to close the restaurant.

Owner Thomas Alamilla appeared before the board and later said he plans to work with the county on re-opening. That will require hiring an independent food safety consultant, training all staff in food safety, and acquiring food safety manager certification.

The 24-hour drive through restaurant ‘s inspections last year were “unacceptable” and “marginal” and each had several follow-ups that were not much better.

In its most recent regular inspection, Almanza’s had nine “red” or “critical” violations. Those are the violations most likely to result in food contamination or illness. Its marginal follow-up inspections reach back into 2017 when it was last closed for non-functioning kitchen sinks and restrooms.

Any repeat of a critical violation during re-opening would land Almanz’s owner back before the board.

Garden City occupies less than two square miles in Weld County. It is known for its nightclubs, bars and marijuana shops. Almanza’s is one of a dozen Garden City food businesses inspected by Weld County Public Health.

Among those nine red violations at Almanza’s, which were recorded in a follow-up inspection in December 2018, the restaurant’s walk-in cooler was responsible for cross-contamination involving raw eggs and beef with raw shrimp and bacon. Another violation involved improper hygienic practice by an employee who was handling raw animal food and then, without hand washing, was touching food surfaces and utensils.

The inspector also found hand sinks were not accessible. Chemicals were not properly stored. And going back two years to January 2016, the best Almanza’s did in an inspection was either a “marginal” or an “unacceptable” in more than 20 inspections. Colorado no longer permits use of letter grades, but when it did those scores would amount to “Ds” and “Fs.”

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