Just Opened, Popular Old Pasadena Ramen Restaurant Scores Big With Reviewers But Not the Public Health Department

Published : Monday, January 11, 2016 | 10:38 AM


The newly-opened Japanese restaurant Ramen Tatsunoya in Old Pasadena may have scored big with food critics who called the eatery “legendary,” but it didn’t score well with health inspectors who have given the restaurant a Conditional Pass and a deadline to make fixes.

Pasadena Health Department personnel reported seeing boxes of raw meat stacked in the driveway, food items like broth being stored on the floor and a number of other practices that don’t conform to city health codes when they were at the restaurant on December 30, 2015 according to city documents.

The restaurant is located at 16 North Fair Oaks Avenue in Old Pasadena.

Because of the observed health code violations, the inspectors gave the restaurant an 82 rating, falling below the passing mark of 85. A Conditional Pass does not mean the restaurant should be closed, city officials said, but it is given a limited number of days to make the necessary corrections in its practices.

“A facility will receive a Conditional Pass if no imminent health hazard is observed but the inspection scored below an 85,” says Acting Division Manager Rachel Janbek of the Pasadena Health Department’s Environmental Health Division. “Typically facilities are given five days to correct violations but the number of days will vary based on the type of violation.”

Inspectors also noted “no handwashing was observed among kitchen staff,” adding that an employee was seen changing tasks “without hand-washing prior to putting on gloves.” These are considered major violations and are written in red in the Pasadena Department of Public Health inspection reports.

The Pasadena inspectors also instructed the restaurant to “discontinue the use of orange-colored Home Depot buckets for food storage,” saying these are not approved for such a purpose.

Janbek said a unannounced re-inspection will be conducted at any time within the five day correction period.

According to city health regulations, the facility must score 95 or above during the follow-up inspection to be issued a PASS rating. If it does not, a Permit Suspension or Revocation Hearing would be scheduled.

Ramen Tatsunoya, part of the Japanese chain which first opened in Kurume City in Fukuoka, Japan in 1999, opened its first U.S. store in Pasadena three days before Christmas, although it has been hosting pop-ups at local Japanese markets for about six years. In 2014, it scored high marks at the Ramen Yokocho Festival in Santa Ana Park.

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