The Alameda County Environmental Health Department closed Alberto's Cantina, a popular Mexican cuisine restaurant and bar in downtown Pleasanton, on Wednesday after an inspector found cockroaches during a routine assessment, according to officials.
The restaurant at 435 Main St. was still red-tagged as of Friday night after failing a follow-up inspection earlier that day due to the presence of several newly hatched cockroaches (also known as nymphs), according to Cynthia Bartus, supervising specialist of the county's Environmental Protection Division.
Alberto’s will remain closed until the major violation for vermin is corrected and cleared by the health department, according to Bartus. The owners could try to pursue another assessment with an on-call inspector over the weekend or wait until Monday for regular county staffing.
“This is an unfortunate circumstance, and while we do not want business operators to be impacted, our mandate is the protection of public health,” she said. “Food facilities must be maintained in a sanitary condition. The presence of vermin in any food facility can contaminate food and utensils and is considered an imminent health hazard which warrants closure.”
The routine inspection on Wednesday, which apparently occurred one day after a pest control company treated the restaurant, resulted in the discovery of “numerous dead cockroaches” and one live nymph onsite, a major violation that prompted the forced health closure, Bartus said.
There were dead cockroaches that contaminated the bar ice as well as were found on shelves in the kitchen, bar, dry storage area and restrooms, and those surfaces were not cleaned and sanitized, according to Bartus.
The inspector also found over a dozen minor violations, citing problems such as potential cross-contamination of uncovered food, cold food temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit, no paper towels or soap at the kitchen hand-washing sink, possible use of an unapproved pesticide and operating permit not posted in public view, she said.
A county inspector returned to reassess the restaurant on Friday for possible reopening but discovered several live nymphs in the food preparation and hot water heater areas, Bartus said. As a result, Alberto’s remains closed.
The restaurant could also face another issue related to the red placard itself.
The county received a report on Friday morning from a resident saying the red tag was not visible, according to Bartus.
The red placard was also not affixed to the window or front door facing the street around 9:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. Friday, but it was in plain view on the window by 1:45 p.m.
The county inspector arrived onsite around noon to find the red placard facing outward as it should have been, and it was unclear to them if it had been moved, Bartus said.
It is a violation to remove, obscure or tamper with the placards posted by county health officials, and in this case, the red-tagged notice needs to be visible in plain view of the public at the main door at all times, according to Bartus.