Roaches, Other Violations Close Capitol Cafeteria

AP / Kimitsu Yogachi

The basement cafeteria in California’s State Capitol, which was shut down because it harbored a cockroach infestation, has been given permission to reopen, although it has not done so yet. Griselda’s World Café was inspected twice, on December 18 and December 30, revealing numerous health code violations, including a cockroach infestation, heavy grease near the plumbing and storage area, a stove hood that was filthy, and a floor slippery with water from an ice machine.

The December 18 report stated that there were “excessive amounts of equipment for catering and unused items for kitchen observed throughout the facility,” while the December 30 reinspection reported an “active infestation” of cockroaches and their excrement in “various stages of life” near the front service line and dishwasher area.

Although the state okayed the cafeteria’s reopening one week after the December 30 inspection, Debra Gravert, the Assembly’s chief administrative officer, said that Griselda’s owner, Griselda Barajas, must meet with state officials before she reopens her café. Gravert told the Sacramento Bee, “I didn’t want to reopen it, even though she passed inspection, until I had chance to talk to [her].”

Barajas remits 0.5 percent of her total gross sales to the state; the Legislature’s Joint Rules Committee has operated the cafeteria with Barajas since 2007. Gravert noted that if the arrangement between Barajas and the state falls apart, she wants major improvements for the cafeteria, adding, “If we’re going to put another cafeteria down there, I want to avoid any of those problems in the future.”

Barajas previously owned a Tex-Mex restaurant in downtown Sacramento. She runs a catering business on the side.

Griselda’s is not alone in its troubles; the Bee reported in August that O! Deli, the other cafeteria in the Capitol, had a “till tap” conducted on it by the U.S. Marshals Service in August because of a court order.