LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As we continue to showcase and support local restaurants that are staying open, it’s also important to expect them to keep working under the health code.
That’s not always happening and 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears holds them accountable in this week's Dirty Dining.
La Luna tea and dessert bar maintains a steady stream of customers despite operating under a 31-demerit C grade that’s still in place after its March 19 inspection.
The C downgrade would ordinarily come with a $1200 fee but in this case the Health District chose to waive that fee due to the COVID-19 response.
La Luna was also reminded of the governor’s directive that restaurants can only be take-out or delivery and they did change to that according to the sign affixed to their front door.
We called La Luna's manager from the restaurant’s parking lot on Rainbow and Windmill to ask about the violations, including one that was particularly peculiar.
"Can I ask you about the issue with the cocoa butter from a beauty supply store being used as an ingredient for pastries?" said Darcy Spears during a phone call with Manager Danna Wei.
Health inspectors found two containers of cocoa butter from Hansi Beauty in La Luna's kitchen.
"According to the health report it was labeled for use on dry and chapped skin, but not as a food ingredient," said Spears.
Manager Danna Wei refused to speak on camera but claimed over the phone that the manufacturer says the product is food grade and they plan to discuss that with the Health District upon re-inspection next week.
"Why were you using that?" Spears asked. "Is there not an equivalent food ingredient that serves the same purpose?"
Wei says cocoa butter is a standard ingredient on the outside of pastries and they just happened to get theirs from a beauty supply store, even though the Health District says that’s an “unapproved source.”
"What about the issues with the moldy salsa, the repeat violation for not enough sanitizer?" asked Spears.
The moldy salsa had a utensil in it indicating it was in use despite being spoiled.
There were also dirty wiping cloths on counters, a heavily stained cutting board that was no longer cleanable, a food handler washing dishes without sanitizer, and household pesticide in storage which inspectors found indicative of possible pest issues.
The manager said they were in the process of fixing everything, adding that they’ve only been open for a year and are still trying to get up to speed on all the health code regulations.
Starbucks on Rainbow and Oakey was shut down for an imminent health hazard on March 16.
The Health District was there on a follow-up to verify cleaning efforts from the previous week’s inspection.
They noted cleaning was in progress but that there was no hot water to the entire facility.
Starbucks was back to an 8-demerit A grade next day.
Manager Lisa Romero refused to comment, saying they’re not allowed to give any information to the media.
7-Eleven on Las Vegas Blvd. and Stewart saw its snack bar shut down March 17 for the same imminent health hazard.
The inspector found them working with open foods despite no available hot water at any sink so food handlers couldn’t properly wash their hands.
Inspectors found the hot water heater rusted with loose screws and trash on top.
7-Eleven was back to a zero-demerit A grade the next day.
The manager declined to comment on the closure.
Click here to see the health report for La Luna Tea and Dessert Bar.
Click here to see the health report for Starbucks.
Click here to see the health report for 7-Eleven snack bar.