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Culichitown & Habaneros Taco Grill tie for the dirtiest dining

Posted: 11:37 PM, Nov 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-21 02:41:48-05
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LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The sound of mariachi music greets all who enter Culichitown -- the Sinaloa style restaurant in the old Macaroni Grill location on Sahara and Rancho.

Culichitown got a 35-demerit C grade on its Nov. 6 inspection.

Assistant Manager Jessica Rodriguez said, "That day we were really busy so we were just running around and when they got here we just had a lot of people working, running around and everything was not in place where it was supposed to be."

Cooking oil -- one container open and exposed -- was being stored outside near open trash and grease interceptors.

Rice, cooked peppers and shrimp had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures.

Dirty items, including cutting boards and plates, were stored as clean.

And numerous foods were subject to potential contamination because they were improperly stored -- like raw fish over lettuce, raw eggs over vegetables, and raw chicken and beef over ready to eat foods.

"Everything was just like these little things that we already know that were supposed to be, but that day was busy so we were just like running around and we just... But we usually keep it clean. Everything's clean."

Of course the Health District expects cleanliness and proper sanitation no matter how busy a restaurant gets.

"We already got it under control and we already talked to all the staff so we do have everything how it's supposed to be," said Rodriguez. "Even on a busy day."

Some of what health inspectors found seems like more than just one busy day.

Shelving was heavily soiled.

There was a sewage smell coming from the restrooms.

A trough drain wasn't draining and was filled with "very foul smelling liquid."

And two food handlers were working with counterfeit health cards.

"We already took care of it. They're not working anymore. We were not aware of that [when we hired them.]"

Culichitown was back to a three-demerit A grade on Nov. 14.

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The other 35-demerit C grade came on Nov. 5 at Habaneros Taco Grill #5 on Centennial and Commerce.

Inspectors documented improper handwashing, improperly cooled rice and cooked breaded chicken that had to be thrown out, and a container of nine-day-old tacos next to the grill that were still offered for service.

Eduardo Linares was the person in charge when we arrived to ask questions. He says he was not there on inspection day but that the entire staff did talk about the violations, like spices and shortening stored uncovered and subject to contamination, a dirty food dicer stored as clean and multiple moldy soda nozzles.

We talked about how the people at night need to clean every day now and the people in the morning should clean too. It'll be like twice cleaned," Linares said.

He added that their focus now is to make sure staff communicates better.

When we pointed out that their C grade was no longer on the wall where the Health District left it, he said that he tried to tape it back up but it kept falling.

During our visit, the grade card was face down on top of a paper towel dispenser, but Linares propped it back up.

Habaneros Taco Grill #5 still has a C grade.

They were anticipating re-inspection this week but the inspector is out sick.

Click here to see the health report for Culichitown.

Click here to see the health report for Habaneros Taco Grill.