Department of Health closes Buffet King after restaurant complaint

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This story has been updated to include feedback from community members.

A restaurant in Odessa closed suddenly after a customer fell ill and was taken to the emergency room.

That, according to a food inspection report filed Friday with the Ector County Health Department.

Buffet king closed after receiving a score of 66.

The low score from the health department is due to insect problems as well as food temperature issues.

Any restaurant that receives a rating below 70 must close immediately.

Restaurants start with a perfect score of 100 and lose points for any violations found.

According to the report, a follow-up inspection was scheduled for today. The Ector County Health Department said the restaurant failed inspection.

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Community members were surprised on Monday when they walked into the Buffet King near 42nd Street and found a note on the door saying it was closed.

Charlie Didonato said he was looking forward to eating out Monday night.

“Today is my birthday and I was going to come here and have dinner and it’s closed and I’m disappointed,” he said.

The Ector County Health Department said a community member came to them saying he got sick after eating at the restaurant and went to the hospital.

Local family doctor Dr Bakhos Webb said food inspection reports are important.

“I know for a fact that they try to follow up on reports of patients reporting signs and symptoms of food poisoning after going to a certain restaurant or eating a certain meal,” she said.

The health department inspection revealed multiple health violations, including a “fly and cockroach problem that needs to be addressed,” according to the food inspection report.

Several other infractions noted by the inspector were that the chicken, shrimp and other foods were out of temperature. The report also stated that food was stored on the floor and that at least one employee did not have a card indicating that he had taken a training course in food handling.

Longtime member of the Odessa community, Chris Rubio, said he ate out several times a month.

“It is a concern and it is surprising. Because they’ve been here a while and they’re always busy and everyone always seems to like coming here,” Rubio said.

Community members said they would dine at the restaurant if and when it reopens.

“I don’t know, I’ve never had a disappointing meal here, never had a problem with bugs or anything, I just enjoy the restaurant. I think it’s good value for the price you pay,” Didonato said.

“We’ll just come back another day when they’ve got it all together again. I always liked it, I always had a good experience when I came here. But you know, it can’t always be perfect and at least it wasn’t a lower score than what they got. So, you know, you have to give everyone a second chance and hopefully they will step in and the next time they come to test them they will pass and be fine,” Rubio said.

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