LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In tonight's Dirty Dining, a longtime Las Vegas restaurant that you could call a local institution.
It's been in town for lots of years and recently it got lots of demerits.
Darcy Spears takes us Dirty Dining on the Las Vegas Strip.
When we arrive at Florida Cafe on Tuesday, we don't find anyone at the restaurant who can talk to us.
And there's something else we don't find at the Cuban bar and grill.
It got a 39-demerit C grade on its February 26 inspection, but the grade card was nowhere to be seen.
We asked about that when we came back Wednesday morning to talk to owner Sergio Perez.
Darcy Spears: What would you tell your employees about not having that on the wall?
Sergio Perez: I don't know. I'll talk to her about how this is supposed to be on the wall because I don't need to lie to the people.
Florida Cafe has been in business on Las Vegas Boulevard near Charleston for 25 years.
They've had solid A grades since 2014, but on February 26, a lot was wrong.
The Health District was wrapping up re-inspection while we were there on Wednesday and Florida Cafe received a 9-demerit “A” grade.
But there was a lot to recover from.
"It's very bad for us," Sergio said. "The place is very clean -- extra clean -- and it's been here for 25 years and I try to take care of my customers because the customer is my life."
Inspectors documented improper handwashing after handling raw chicken.
Cooked onions, rice and beans, beef, oxtail, chicken and rice and were all in temperature danger zone.
And multiple prepared foods were expired including chicken fried rice and oxtail rice that were more than a month old.
"Maybe the employee put in the wrong sticker because the food over here is cooking that day. Maybe maximum three-day hold."
Sergio says they strive to cook everything fresh and the date labels may have been old, but not the food.
Darcy: Inspectors also found a cockroach inside a container of pooled eggs, another one on the floor near the grill station, some dead roaches on the floor--what's up with that?
Sergio: I don't know... I don't know. You can check the place. It's extra clean. But it happened. It's not about the excuse or something like that, because it happened.
The Health District ordered Florida Cafe to get pest control service within 48 hours of the inspection and perform a deep cleaning.
Other issues inspectors found included dried brown build-up on soda nozzles and brown and green mold in the ice machine.
Sergio says says his biggest challenge is finding skilled kitchen staff.
"And you're asking the people -- the new people coming -- what is the temperature you need to have for cooking the eggs, the fish? And the people don't know! I don't know how these people have the health card. You're coming to work in the restaurant, you need to know exactly the operation--all the food handling.
He had a full staff meeting to make sure everyone knows what's expected in his kitchen.
There was another 39-demerit C grade on February 26 at Taqueria El Buen Pastor. The repeat offender has now had three locations featured on Dirty Dining.
The one on Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara was shut down for good in late 2017 when its health permit was permanently revoked.
This time, it's the one on Decatur and Meadows Lane.
Someone complained to the Health District about seeing a roach, but inspectors could not verify that. They did do a routine inspection, however, and found plenty of other violations like improper handwashing, a food handler peeling ready to eat onions with bare hands and raw chicken left out at room temperature.
A Large tray of cooked pork had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures.
Raw chicken was stored over an uncovered container of cooked beans.
Cooked asada, beans and potatoes were uncovered and subject to contamination and there was mold in the ice machine.
It still has a C grade.
We spoke to several people at the restaurant but no one was available to comment.
Los Cucos Mexican cafe on Arroyo Crossing Parkway and Tenaya was shut down February 28 for a gross, insanitary condition considered an imminent health hazard.
In a word -- rats!
A customer complained to the Health District that they saw a rat run out from under a bench in a booth and that staff said they knew about the rats and there were more in the kitchen.
When inspectors followed up on the complaint, they found rodent droppings throughout the facility -- in the kitchen, bar and dining area.
After a deep cleaning, they were back open with a zero-demerit A the next day.
The manager said someone left a door open and they believe rats got in due to nearby construction.
The Feast Buffet American at Texas Station in North Las Vegas was shut down February 25 for no hot water.
A spokeswoman said it was shut down for just over an hour and the issue was corrected on site while the inspector was there.
They reopened with a zero-demerit A grade.