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La Tapatia is inspected, not graded

Can you tell me why La Tapatia in Phoenix isn't listed in the county’s restaurant inspections? They are also a retail establishment, but I wouldn't think that would exempt them from a restaurant health inspection.

— Anonymous, via email

Despite winning a 2014 Reader’s Choice Award, La Tapatia in Phoenix makes more money through retail than its restaurant and, therefore, is inspected by Oregon Department of Agriculture rather than Jackson County health inspectors.

La Tapatia is licensed with ODA as a retail food establishment, as is Downtown Market Co. in Medford, another retail store known for its restaurant. Grocery store delis also fall in this category.

“They are apparently making more money as a retailer than they are in the restaurant business,” said ODA spokesman Bruce Pokarney.

Nonetheless, ODA inspectors conduct regular health inspections assessing the entire operation, including food preparation, sanitation and service within the restaurant, Pokareney said.

Unfortunately, the results of these inspections are not as accessible as Jackson County's restaurant inspections and aren't graded.

“Our inspectors look at the same things but (the restaurants) aren't scored,” Pokareney said. “We note where there are deficiencies and ask that those be addressed ... but in terms of how the public would see it, they would have to request the entire inspection report.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.