‘The Pit’ ranks well for food safety three years running


The Pit is often full of thousands of Lobo fans, and those fans like to grab a snack and a drink while enjoying the game. 

A recent ESPN report showed national stadiums and sports venues had major violations during food inspections, including rodents and dirty kitchens. So, how does The Pit fare?

“Historically the food facilities at The Pit have done very well,” said Johnathan Gerhardt with the New Mexico Environment Department.  

Gerhardt is the Food Program Manager and said the vendors at The Pit get a visit from them at least once a year. 

“If something needs attention, we get that at the beginning of the season,” said Gerhardt.  

In the past three years, Rita’s was the only vendor with a long list of corrections to make. In 2017, an inspector found a partially consumed custard in their freezer, a wiping cloth on the floor, containers had old sauce, and the concession stand needed extensive cleaning.

The vendor has since moved out. 

“We’re able to show them things they’ve missed or overlooked, and for the most part people are very receptive to that,” said Gerhardt.  

KRQE News 13 wanted to know how The Pit ranked so well.

“A lot of different things we do to make sure we’re up to par,” said Maxx Phillips, Director of Operations at The Pit for Levy Restaurants. 

“They have a daily sanitation checklist that’s required for every concession stand, bar, to be filled out and turned in that’s reviewed by [the] chef and sent into our home office,” said Phillips. 

He said they also have orientations where all employees and vendors go over sanitation, cleaning 
 allergies and procedures.

“You can’t have good food without good sanitation,” he said. 

Phillips also said they partner with a company called Everclean about three to four times a year to do pre-inspections, in addition to their annual inspection by the state. 

If a business or vendor is given an unsatisfactory rating, the state’s Environment Department expects it to be fixed within 24 hours. 

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