We’ve all got our favorite hole in the wall establishments, whether it’s a local dive bar or hamburger stand. Deep down inside we all know that these places might not have the cleanliest kitchens and facilities but it never stopped us from walking through their doors with our heads held high.
Okay, now let’s get a little more specific, the restaurant industry… Some of us know about that one place with a B-rating that always seems to have customers in it and never gets shut down. Heck, some of us are customers at those B-rated restaurants, attribute that rating as ‘extra flavor’, and ignore the possible health complications that could come with those fish tacos. But have you ever wondered what’s really floating in your cheddar broccoli soup? Do you want to continue to live in denial or would like to become enlightened or informed about the horrors that go down at your local favorite sandwich shop?
Some say ignorance is bliss, but we say knowledge is power. We’ve compiled some of the dirtiest and most disgusting restaurants the United States has ever seen. Please be warned, if you ever come across any of these restaurants during your travels, turn around and run. Run as fast as you can.
12. Prosperity Dumpling, New York, NY
We hate to go right into the Chinese food restaurant stereotypes, especially since a majority of those stereotypes are pure and utter bull, and authentic Chinese food is actually for the better and more refined taste palette. But when you’re in New York’s Chinatown, choose otherwise when it comes to dining here. Let’s break this down, New York City is considered to be one of the most diverse, congested, and dirtiest places on planet earth. For some reason, New Yorkers are proud of their unkempt and filthy environments and unfortunately that also comes with the territory when it comes to dining in the city.
At one time, Prosperity Dumpling had a great reputation for delivering cheap and delicious dumplings in all different kinds of styles for a dollar a pop. Sounds like the perfect late-night snack right? Yeah… until a photo surfaced in 2015 of three employees making dumplings with no gloves or other sanitary products in a rat infested alley behind the restaurant. As soon as the photo popped up, the Health Department quickly shut down the establishment and all the late night drunken club hoppers had to find somewhere else to get their dumpling fix at a cheap price in the middle of the night. Luckily for you New Yorkers, if that was one of your favorite spots, Prosperity Dumpling has officially reopened on Broome Street. Proceed with caution if you’re in the area and want some cheap pan-fried dumplings.
11. Pizza Hut, Kermit, WV
It seems like every couple of months a news headline is released with some dumb teenagers violating health code and customer’s food items by either sticking bell pepper toppings up their nose, wiping their butts with hamburger buns, or spitting in some poor guy’s McFlurry in pure barbaric fashion. Luckily, with the advancement of technology, with in-store cameras and social media we’re able to catch these delinquents more frequently than in days past.
What was caught on camera at a local Pizza Hut in Kermit, West Virginia, however, will make anyone’s skin crawl. It was a normal day at the pizza parlor conglomerate, pizza, wings, and breadsticks were selling with ease but during some downtime at the local pizza shop the DISTRICT MANAGER decided it would be a good idea to whip out his genitals and urinate in the same sink that food is washed and prepared in! Once the video went public, the health department instantly stepped in and closed the Pizza Hut down. With the chain restaurant being so huge, you’d think that they’d be able to reopen within the West Virginia community, right? Think again… The Pizza Hut corporate office officials were so disgusted by this guy’s managerial decision to bypass the restroom and use the sink that they decided to permanently close the store. We have one question for this guy… Why couldn’t you just use the bathroom like a normal person? He could have saved all of those employees their jobs and the community some pizza.
10. QL’s, Muncie, Indiana
Most of the time when we think barbecue, we automatically think of a semi-rugged cooking environment. Standing outside over a hot grill, the intense billows of smoke, the barbecue sauce dripping down your hands and face, things tend to get messy. But what was found during a surprise inspection at QL’s in 2013, a local barbecue shack in Muncie, Indiana, shocked the health inspectors that not only did they close the eatery on the spot, they were left green in the face and sickly without even eating the food.
During the inspection, 23 health code violations were found on the site. A plethora of flies and rat droppings were found throughout the location, but what was found in a shed behind QL’s is what really got them on this list. The shed was full of rotting turkey carcasses in which we could only describe as turkey Auschwitz. A chest freezer was found riddled with live maggots and rotting meat, and employees were supposedly throwing plastic water bottles in the smoker where food was cooked. Think it stops there? Nope… QL’s didn’t even have hot water or functioning bathrooms! Utterly disgusting, but from the looks of things, the owners of the establishment have since then gotten their act together and they are back in business.
8. Best Wings, Lawrenceville, GA
Who doesn’t like wings? They’re perfect for almost any occasion, whether you’re watching the game with the fellas or on a casual date with that special someone, nothing brings people together like wings and a cold beer.
Unfortunately, there are places like Best Wings in Lawrenceville, Georgia, that don’t live up to the average wing standard. The irony in the name ‘Best Wings’ will come to you shortly after we explain why exactly they made the list. Okay, so usually health inspections are graded from a 0-100 scale. Hopefully, every restaurant establishment is gunning for that perfect score and anything close to 80 or under is hoping to improve immediately. As for Best Wings they scored a dismal 39 in 2013. Do you think they got any better in 2014? Sadly no, they scored even lower with an inspection score of just 35. The chicken wing sellers racked up multiple health code violations including making a concoction they called tzatziki sauce out of expired sour cream, they kept unlabeled containers full of non-consumable chemicals in the storage area and in the kitchen, and they also stored fully cooked meat with uncooked meat, in which they would serve to their customers. If this place doesn’t seem like doomsday for your guts and contracting salmonella we don’t know what is.
8. Nicky’s Chinese Food, Hyde Park, IL
If you ask anyone who is into authentic Chinese cuisine they will surely laugh in your face if you brag about the quality of the broccoli beef and orange chicken at your favorite Chinese food spot. Most of the items you see on these menus are nothing but American interpretations of what we think Chinese food is and doesn’t even exist in China.
So when Nicky’s Chinese Food in Hyde Park, Illinois, claims to have ‘gourmet Chinese food’ we suggest you ask them to actually define whatever that is. This place claims to hold themselves at ‘gourmet’ level standards but customers have constantly complained about their delivery drivers keeping the numbers of their attractive customers and hitting them up on some late night texting action. That necessarily doesn’t have anything to do with the food, but it does let you know what kind of cornballs are working there. As for the food and location, a health inspection document read that the site was covered in hundreds of mouse droppings and swarms of flies could be found throughout the eatery. Instead of focusing on the ladies, these guys should probably be worried about the rodent infestation that is plaguing their restaurant.
7. Rascal’s BBQ and Crab House, New Castle, DE
The Northeast is known for having some of the best seafood and shellfish across the country, but Rascal’s BBQ and Crab House decided to step into the public eye with their restaurant’s financial and cleanliness struggles. Let’s just say that things got to be pretty bad when even Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible can’t even save your business. Chef Robert Irvine, visited the restaurant during the show’s first season back in 2011. Upon entry, Chef Irvine first encountered large heaps of garbage and old restaurant furniture in the back of the restaurant, then later noticed large amounts of rat feces, he and his inspecting team were able to find 13 dead mice at the restaurant and he, the restaurant staff, and the rest of his crew were forced to wear bio-hazmat suits in order to clean the restaurant for restoration.
Unfortunately, even with the show’s help they were forced to close down within the same year. They had to face some facts though; if rats couldn’t survive living in that environment, how could their business survive? Who’s going to want to come there after seeing that type of carelessness of national television. Ugh… the restaurant business definitely isn’t for everybody.
6. Mandarin House, Knoxville, TN
When we think of Chinese food, we usually don’t automatically think of Tennessee. There are far too many places for a good steak and quality barbecue in Tennessee for us to get a hankering for Chinese in a state known for some of the best barbecue in the USA. Anyways, if you just so happen to be in the Volunteer State and feel the need to get your chow mein fix, we suggest you avoid Mandarin House in Knoxville.
The Knox County health department decided to go and check things out after receiving a complaint from a local citizen that got sick after dining at the establishment. Everyone responds to food differently, so the health department wasn’t expecting to find anything out of the ordinary until they arrived only to find food being stored improperly, swarms of cockroaches behind loose tiles, and chicken blood dripping onto pre-fried items that was later going to be served to whoever got lucky. What really takes this restaurant over the edge was that while the inspectors were on site, an employee had dropped some meat onto the floor, picked it up, and continued to cook it. Luckily, the inspectors stopped the employee from serving the food, but we have to ask… what the hell were they thinking to do something like that in front of the health department?! We’ve heard about the 5-second-rule but there needs to be a line drawn somewhere.
5. Mar Y Tierra, Lilburn, GA
Mexican food has officially crossed over as an American staple to the point that Americans have invented their own Mexican food items, i.e. the burrito, and created a watered down, over-processed version of the food, i.e. Taco Bell. What really makes Mexican food special is the authenticity and simplicity of the ingredients that create such powerful and tasty dishes for all of us to enjoy.
Unfortunately, Mar Y Tierra in Lilburn, Georgia, took things to the extreme in the mom and pop style taco shop. We mentioned earlier that health inspections are graded on a 0-100 scale and back in 2008, Mar Y Tierra scored an all-time low of just 13 during their annual inspection. The restaurant was closed down instantaneously after inspectors found raw chicken being stored atop of vegetables that were going to be plated and served without being cooked, a cooler covered in dangerous black mold, and non-functioning sewage and waste systems. Management claimed not to be aware of Georgia’s food safety standards, but we’d like to call shenanigans on those claims. Who doesn’t know that you can’t store raw meat atop vegetables? Or not have working plumbing and sewage systems? Luckily, nothing worse came out of this because death by black mold burrito would extremely embarrassing for both the victim and the restaurant. Fortunately, Mar Y Tierra no longer exists so the possibility of that happening is non-existent.
4. China City, Opa-Locka, FL
Opa-Locka, Florida is suburb right outside Miami, which culinary wise is known for Cuban, Jamaican, and other islander foods. When in South Beach why not get into the islander swing of things and enjoy some oxtail, plantains, and dirty rice? But fortunately for those who are either ignorant to the deliciousness of islander food or over it, they have every alternative culinary option underneath the sun in south Florida including Chinese food.
China City in Opa-Locka is a rather small location in the Florida suburb, and when it comes to smaller restaurants, strategically and business wise, it’s smart to create as much room for the comfort of your customers. So, with China City already being small as it is and accommodating for their customers the kitchen is as small as it gets and unfortunately the employees on the clock were caught in a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ situation when health inspectors popped up at the restaurant. Originally, the health department was there for prior issues with rodent infestation but instead of finding mouse turds, they went to the back of the restaurant and found an open container of chicken wings sunbathing in the alley and instantly had to be shut down as they racked up a total of 26 health code violations.
3. Soup To Nuts Diner, Tavares, FL
1950’s themed restaurants are usually perfect dinner and a movie date nights but if you ever wanted to break up with your significant other, taking them to Soup To Nuts Diner in Tavares, Florida, would have been the perfect place to do so. We only say ‘would have’ because today this diner is no longer with us, and for a good reason, too. This place had a huge infestation problem. From flies, to gnats, to roaches Soup To Nuts was a breeding ground and paradise for insects.
Not only was this place a breeding ground for insects it was also a hub bacteria growth and mold due to the unsanitary and grease-caked kitchen equipment. Raw meat has been found stored at unsafe and non-consumable temperatures making dining dangerous at Soup To Nuts. We think ownership got things a little confused when it came to being 1950’s themed… Instead of stylistically taking on the 50’s appearance, they took the 50’s approach a little too literally and kept their restaurant like it hadn’t been cleaned since the 1950’s. Gross… Luckily, they’re not in business anymore.
2. Red Flower Chinese, Williamsburg, KY
The jokes of Chinese food containing alternative meat sources, such as a pigeon, cats, and dogs are pretty played-out but then again, if we see a veterinarian next to a local Chinese takeout spot we might avoid that particular restaurant all together. A lot of the restaurants on this list have yet to reach the horrific scene that was spotted outside of Red Flower Chinese in Williamsburg, Kentucky.
In 2012, customers witnessed multiple employees from the eatery stuffing the carcass of a deer into a nearby dumpster, and as they should have, they automatically called the health department. Upon arrival, the inspectors verified that yes indeed it was the shell of a deer. When asked how they got the deer, one of the employees answered that he had seen the deer on Interstate-75 after it was hit, stuffed the carcass into the back of the car, and brought it to the restaurant for cleaning and preparation. Can you guess what happened next? The health inspectors were pleasantly surprised, shook the owners’ hands, and left peacefully… sike! They shut that place down with the quickness and now Red Flower Chinese no longer exists. Nobody should be eating fresh roadkill, we like our General Tao chicken to actually be chicken.
1. Lucky River, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco has one of the most elaborate and beautiful Chinatowns in the country. With a plethora of Chinese food options to choose from, Lucky River may be suffering from a bad rep after a citizen caught this guy slamming slabs of meat on bare concrete like Hulk Hogan did Andre The Giant in WrestleMania. What was this cook’s reason for doing this you might ask? When contacted by health department, he claimed he was just trying to defrost those bad boys.
Fortunately, the restaurant didn’t get into too much trouble, but the cook was fired from the restaurant immediately after the video had gotten into the hands of the local media. We understand that heat does kill bacteria while cooking but for this guy to think it was a good idea to do this on the street in broad daylight was kind of dumb. Now Lucky River has to live with a tainted reputation and a fluctuating customer base. At least the rest of the restaurants on this list were at least trying to be secretive about their gross habits. Then again… we do hope that guy found another job.