Rodents, roaches and pill bottles? Midlands restaurants with lowest September inspection ratings

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South Carolina health inspectors found multiple violations at restaurants in the Midlands in September, from dead roaches and rodent activity to pill bottles stored with food.

The state each month releases grades and inspection reports for food establishments across Lexington and Richland counties.

Here are the restaurants that received some of the lowest ratings in September.

Express China at 2025 Harden St. in Richland

Express China had an inspection on Sept. 13 and got a 71% C grade.

An inspector observed dead roaches throughout the business and roach activity throughout the kitchen. Also observed was rodent activity and droppings throughout the restaurant.

Fuzzy growth was seen on garlic pieces in the cooler. Certain foods were seen not kept at proper holding temperatures. A large gap was seen under the exterior door, along with holes on walls to the outside that needed to be sealed. Buckets of unsealed sauce were seen stored on the floor in the walk-in cooler.

A required followup inspection was held on Sept. 21 and the restaurant earned an A grade.

Sushi and Hibachi to Go at 1100-B Elmwood Ave. in Richland

Sushi and Hibachi to Go had an inspection on Sept. 22 and got a 70% C grade.

An inspector observed an excessive amount of pill bottles stored with food and single service items. Also observed raw chicken, raw beef and raw fish stored over various produce items and cooked, ready to eat items.

Laundry detergent was seen stored beside food product. Pesticide was seen stored over the prep cooler on the make line.

Food was seen stored directly on the floor. Open single service food items were seen stored with open cat food. Food splash was seen on walls, along with food debris underneath equipment on the make line.

A required followup inspection has not yet been held.

Flaming Grill Supreme Buffett at 115 Afton Ct. in Lexington

Flaming Grill had an inspection on Sept. 12 and got a 77% C grade.

An inspector observed raw chicken and raw beef reside in common container at prep cooler across from cook line. Employees were observed not washing their hands between points of contamination.

Certain foods were seen not being kept at proper holding temperatures. Buildup was seen on door handles of walk-in units and on the sides of cook line equipment.

A required followup inspection was held on Sept. 16 and the restaurant received a worse 74% C grade. An inspector observed fly activity in the kitchen and dining areas. Raw shrimp, raw crab and imitation crab were seen thawing in standing water at the prep sink.

A second required followup inspection was held on Sept. 26 and the restaurant got an A grade.

San Jose Mexican Restaurant on 115 Northpoint Dr. In Lexington

San Jose Mexican Restaurant had an inspection on Sept. 2 and got an 86% C grade.

An inspector observed an employee only change gloves after handling raw chicken at the start of the inspection. More than 4 inches of queso dip was seen in the middle of shelving not adequately cooling. More than 4 inches of rice partially covered in middle shelving was also seen not adequately cooling.

The restaurant had two required followup inspections on Sept. 8 and Sept. 14 and received two more C grades. The restaurant earned an A grade on Sept. 21 during a third followup inspection.