LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Four restaurants and three cockroach infestations. One place hit a gross-out grand slam with four different kinds of vermin. Tonight, Darcy Spears tracks down the customer whose complaint led to this week's Dirty Dining headliner.
Diana Rodriguez is watching what she eats a little more closely these days, and with good reason.
"We are 8 1/2 months pregnant," she said, gazing down at her belly.
That added attention to her food paid off on April 30 when she ordered lunch from El Burrito on Del Webb and Rampart.
"We were eating and right underneath all of the beans was the cockroach. I'm glad I saw it though because I was about to pick it up with my chip!"
Diana eats there every week, "Possibly twice on weekends because their chips and salsa really is good."
But she couldn't stomach finding a bug in her food or the owner's reaction to her complaint about the cockroach.
"And he was like, 'well what do you want me to do about it?' So he really just was not helpful at all. He was not nice whatsoever."
Two can play the not-nice game, so she posted about it on Yelp, "And then I made the complaint on the Southern Nevada Health District's website."Which is exactly what you should do when you find a cockroach in your taquitos.
The Health District investigated and found far more than that.
Inspectors shut El Burrito down on May 2 for operating under an imminent health hazard.
There were dead, multi-generational roaches throughout the kitchen food prep areas, inside the make table on the cook line and on top of a food container.
Live roaches were observed crawling on the walls, on a cutting board and breeding in a wall panel right next to the prep table.
"That is insane! That is disgusting!" Diana said after reading the full inspection report, which resulted in 36 demerits.
In addition to the roaches, there was expired food still in use past the 7-day shelf life, multiple platters of fried chilies at unsafe temperatures that had to be thrown out and ground meat stored in a bucket on the floor--thawing in the temperature danger zone. Plus, lots of stuff in the fridge and freezer was uncovered and subject to contamination.
Remember what Diana said about El Burrito's owner?
"He's not the nicest person. He's very rude."
We didn't find him very welcoming either.
When we walked in to the largely empty restaurant, he immediately said, "We're busy right now. We have no time."
Darcy Spears: "Would you like to have me come back another time?"Owner: Just go away.Darcy: You have nothing to say? Your place was infested with cockroaches.Owner: You know what? I've been here 30 years so just take that!
El Burrito was back to a zero-demerit A grade on May 6. Too little, too late for this once loyal customer.
"Dirty Dining is the right term?" Darcy Spears asked Diana Rodriguez.
"Yes! Absolutely! That is not okay! And I will not go back."
There were two other cockroach infestation closures. One at Denny's inside Buffalo Bill's hotel/casino in Primm.
Denny's served up a different kind of grand slam on April 30 with four kinds of pests: Roaches, fruit flies, large black beetles and a dead rat on a glue board in the dining room.
Conditions contributing to all that vermin included food debris under and behind equipment, holes in the walls and broken floor tiles. There was also a repeat violation for raw beef and T-bone steak in the temperature danger zone.
Buffalo Bill's main kitchen was closed during the same inspection but both reopened May 2 with a zero-demerit A grades.
Denny's sent a statement saying: "The restaurant addressed the issues immediately. It was closed to fix them and reopened on May 2nd after receiving an A on its follow up inspection. This restaurant has a long and consistent history of receiving high health inspection scores. We take these matters seriously as the health and safety of our guests is of the utmost importance."
Las Palmas seafood restaurant on East Sahara in Commercial Center was shut down May 1 for a multi-generational cockroach infestation.
Inspectors found roaches throughout the facility and no pest control records available for review.
The report also says a food handler "began video recording, threatening and harassing inspectors."
On May 3, inspectors were called to come back but the roaches hadn't left, so the restaurant had to stay closed for a repeat violation and failing reinspection.
They finally passed and reopened May 10 with a 3-demerit "A" grade.
The owner said the infestation wasn't that big of a deal but admits it was a problem. He said he's sad that it happened and it was bad for business but it can happen to anyone and Las Palmas worked hard to get everything cleaned up.
In the future, in addition to their own pest control, he says the landlord has agreed to pay for quarterly treatments to help out all the tenants in the building.
And lastly, Kyara on Jones and Sunset got a 36-demerit C grade on its May 1 inspection.
A food handler at the sushi line was using bare hands to prepare daikon radish in ready-to-eat salad and using bare hands on ready-to-eat breaded chicken. It all had to be thrown out.
Inspectors saw improper handwashing by three different food handlers.
There was no record of parasite destruction for whitefish or raw halibut, utensils were stored in dirty water, packaged meat was stored below dirty dishes and bags of rice were stored on floor.
Kyara is scheduled for reinspection on Thursday.
The person in charge said that as a result of the C downgrade, they've decided to terminate their lunch service because the chefs who work the afternoon shift just can't seem to get it right, no matter how much training they get.
She said they're proud of their dinner service and the evening chef staff and will rely on that as their business model moving forward, adding that they won't stand for any member of the staff tarnishing their reputation.