Dirty Dining: Ellis Island
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - Here's one we haven't come across since we began our Dirty Dining reports. This week's restaurant actually kicked health inspectors off their property. But, as Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reports, that didn't stop them from being shut down.
The pictures really do tell the story of Ellis Island restaurant's 60-demerit closure.
Parts of the eatery inside the Koval Lane casino looked like a scene from a slasher movie. Inspectors found excessive, old food debris caked on equipment and splashed-on walls, doors, ceilings -- just about everywhere they looked.
All the images make it hard to imagine what was actually clean.
And check out what health inspectors documented in their report.
They wrote, "During the inspection, the person in charge came to the table where inspectors were writing their report and told them they had to leave because Ellis Island was private property and inspectors were not allowed to be on their property."
That got restaurant management called into the District's version of the principal's office -- a "supervisory conference" with Health District higher-ups.
Before getting kicked out, inspectors documented multiple violations for lack of hand-washing.
They also found employees doing some illegal dumping of degreaser, grey water and garbage into the storm drain.
As for the food, the cottage cheese was supposed to be enjoyed by Oct. 6. But inspectors found it in the fridge three weeks later.
The red sauce on the pizza and some stew were also expired. And so was deli meat, which inspectors found coated with a white substance. The sour cream had a yellow substance on it, along with a crumbling texture and no date.
Other violations included employee clothes next to food and on equipment and a potato peeler sitting on top of someone's furry jacket.
Black growth in the ice machine caused it to be red-tagged and taken out of use.
Pans and other equipment were stacked as clean, but were actually caked with old food debris.
Dozens of soiled towels sat on cutting boards and other food contact surfaces. And clean towels were being stored in an oven with excessive, dried food debris.
"Due to the severe lack of food safety and regulation violations," the person in charge at Ellis Island was given a violation and told to get control of the staff, retrain them and inform them on proper food safety.
No one from Ellis Island would go on camera, but we spoke to the casino president on the phone. She said health inspectors came by the restaurant during their quarterly clean-out, which she pointed out they do in addition to regular daily cleaning.
She said they'd unplugged equipment and moved things for cleaning, but inspectors insisted on doing the inspection right then. She called them unreasonable and said the Health District isn't always right, noting that they were re-inspected and re-opened the very next morning with three demerits and an A grade.