Blue Ginger Pho restaurant in Tehachapi was closed Monday after the Kern County Public Health Services Department observed violations during an inspection.
According to the department's Inspection Violations Report, the popular restaurant, located at 1121 W. Valley Blvd., Suite D, was found to not have an operational water heater, with water temperature measuring 74 degrees at the hand washing sink and three-compartment sink. To meet the requirement, hot water must be at a minimum of 120 degrees at the faucet.
Michelle Corson, public relations officer for the Kern County Public Health Services Department, said Wednesday that the inspection was ordered after a complaint was made against the restaurant.
"With our grading policy ... if there are imminent health hazards that present an immediate risk to the public, then we would immediately close a restaurant or food facility," Corson said. "Having no hot water is a major violation because that impacts food safety, hand washing. You just can't operate a food facility without potable, running hot water."
Inspectors found the restaurant was boiling water on the burner, with a portion put into a plastic container to cool for employees to use for hand washing.
In addition, "the operator/employees did not demonstrate correct decision making skills" by not self-closing the restaurant when the hot water heater went out, according to Corson.
Corson stated this was a "severe issue that needs to be resolved."
In order to reopen the restaurant, Corson said, the owners would have to install an operational water heater.
Said Corson, "They (Blue Ginger Pho) have been cooperative, and they say they intend to install a new water heater."
Blue Ginger Pho received an inspection score of 63 percent, down from a previous inspection score of 91 percent it received on April 29. A passing score of 70 is required by law to remain open.