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Fiesta Cancun admits mistakes, complaints reached the county's health department

After making some changes, Fiesta Cancun owners say it will reopen its doors on Tuesday.The authentic Mexican restaurant now faces six months of probation and a $450 fine after the St. Joseph County’s Health Department got several complaints.

Owners of Fiesta Cancun met with the department because of worries about cross-contamination that could lead up to food borne illnesses.

“A third complaint came in. So it’s like, ‘Okay we have to skip over this step and we have to ask you to close because we’re concerned we want to know what’s going on,’” said Carolyn Smith, St. Joseph County’s Health Department Food Service Director.

Smith says things moved quickly in the case with Fiesta Cancun. After getting customer complaints they noticed major issues in the kitchen.

“We saw some raw chicken over beef,” said Smith.

The owners admitted to their mistakes and said this is a learning experience.

“It’s good that we’re being corrected. It’s for the better of everyone. For us the owners and our customers. I feel better now that we know what we can improve on,” said Ismael Lopez, one of the three owners.

During another inspection Monday morning, Fiesta Cancun was said to be up to code. “I would hope people will give them another chance,” said Smith.

Owner Jose Felix Ramirez says, “We’re going to continue to move forward and do this for our customers.”

Bill Dobslaw, who owns the building, has seen restaurants come and go from this location.

He’s hoping Fiesta Cancun can weather this storm.

“I’m proud of them, they’ve been so cooperative. It’s just amazing how well they’ve worked with the health department,” says Dobslaw.

All Fiesta Cancun employees and management had to take a class offered by the Health Department that discusses proper food preparation protocol and cleanliness.

As far as the $450 fee, that was paid right after the hearing and that 6 month probation means drop in inspections without notice from health inspectors.

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