Concern over Lucky Buddha’s failing score

Photo by Ally Stone

Busy at college, Tech students often try to find the cheapest and most convenient food. This method may not be the safest, however, as evidenced by the health violations of Lucky Buddha, a fairly popular Chinese-American restaurant near campus.

On Sept. 18, the Lucky Buddha received a failing score of 40 on their Food Service Establishment Inspection Report. This was not the first bad score that the restaurant had received.

According to the report, the Health Inspector noted, “Management failed to implement procedures that would prevent recurring violations that previously resulted in scores of 44, 66 and 74…”

Most of the violations pertained to food storage and preparation, which can could be frightening for some because these are the areas that are most hidden from consumers.

For instance, the Health Inspector observed rotted cutting boards that were “black, discolored and pitted.”

Most customers were completely unaware of this situation, including third-year ChBE student Matthew Cline.

“The food was always great, I never had any problems,” Cline said. “But the restaurant is very small and it seemed pretty average cleanliness. I was surprised at first, but all food prep is done in the back and so no one really saw the health issues.”

The kitchen, too, was not clean. Staffers used  dirty wiping cloths, unsanitary surfaces and  raw meat was even being washed at the same time as the dishes. Raw chicken was often left on the counter for an indefinite amount of time before cooking.

The Health Inspector also  “observed staff touching egg rolls with bare hand(s) to package for customer.”

These transgressions could be seen as carelessness, but some customers believe this lack of attention is inexcusable in the  food service.  According to the CDC, salmonella, which comes from improper treatment of ingredients and poor kitchen hygiene, was the second most prevalent form of foodborne illness in 2011, proof of how dangerous cutting corners in the food industry can be.

Many Tech students have ordered takeout from Lucky Buddha, and thus were oblivious to the cleanliness and health issues inside the restaurant.

“I usually got takeout so I didn’t think too much about it. I was really surprised and shocked when I saw the bad health rating,” said ‘13 Alum Lauren Lillquist.

Many students also relied on Lucky Buddha for its convenient location close to campus.

“It wasn’t the cleanest place, but the food was reasonably priced and good. And it was convenient. You’d always see Tech students,” said Kelly Felker, a second-year BUS major.

Some students, though,  saw  Lucky Buddha as a lackluster option from the start.

“It was mediocre, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good quality Chinese food. I think they messed up my order too,” complained Alana Wilson, second-year CEE major.

The Lucky Buddha was epitome of a restaurant primarily serving college students, as it was mostly characterized by its late-night service, staying open until 4 a.m. on the weekend. The Lucky Buddha served average Americanized Chinese food, and if a student had a craving, it satisfied.

However, some Tech students believe  greasy satisfaction should not have to jeopardize students immediate health.  Some even suggested that it was better that the location was shut down.

Tech students will now  have to find a new Chinese restaurant to frequent whenever the craving hits them. Currently, these alternatives include Lucky China and Wok-n-Roll.

Lucky Buddha will be going to court s, but the according to WSBTV, the owners are hopeful that the restaurant will shut down.