LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Pupusas on Eastern and Tropicana avenues got in trouble with the Health District on Dec. 31 for its bathrooms being out of order.
And though they were fixed, the Health District gave Las Pupusas a 39-demerit C grade.
But after inspectors left, the problem came back.
A sign reading "Bathrooms are out of order" was posted on the door when we arrived on Jan. 13.
Lack of adequate employee toilets is considered an imminent health hazard, which requires Las Pupusas to close and notify the Health District. But we found it was business as usual.
When employees saw our camera, they immediately called the owner Luis Martinez.
Over the phone, Martinez told us the problem stems from shared plumbing with a neighboring store, which they can't control.
And he tried to say that was the only issue behind that 39-demerit C grade on Dec. 31.
But quite a few of the other demerits came from conditions in the kitchen: from expired food to excessive grease to food left out for many hours.
Martinez says the health inspector caught them off guard.
One of their critical violations had to do with food left out for too long. Food held at room temperature has to be thrown out after four hours due to potential bacterial growth.
Martinez says his staff was going to do that since they planned to close that day at 1:00 pm.
But that's not what inspectors saw.
"The Health District said that instead of throwing stuff away that had reached the end of its limit to be out at room temperature, your staff just relabeled it for another four hours until 5:00 PM." Spears told Martinez. "So why would they have done that if you were going to close at 1:00 PM?"
He said the staff panicked due to a language barrier, which is why they wrote new labels.
He also blamed labeling for expired food: 11-day-old shrimp broth and nine-day old tamales. He claims the labels were old, not the food.
Inspectors also saw a large fly in the kitchen land on the syrup dispenser spout.
Cookline equipment, floors and walls were dirty with excessive grease and old food.
And they were preparing Horchata in the three-compartment sink next to dirty dishes.
The owner said it was bad luck.
When we asked why there wasn't somebody in charge at the time of the inspection when health code requires a designated person in charge on premises at all times, Martinez says they'd adjusted shifts around the holidays and that it was all a series of misunderstandings.
He apologized for the errors and miscommunication and said it won't happen again, adding that Las Pupusas always cooks everything fresh and takes food safety seriously, which is why their six locations have been so successful for so long.
They were reinspected Jan. 8 and got a 3-demerit A grade.
Thai Original BBQ on Jones and Flamingo was shut down Jan. 3 due to unsanitary conditions.
The whole place was essentially a grease trap.
Inspectors found a two-foot-deep by two-foot-wide trench had been dug into the ground in the kitchen and covered with dirty, greasy plywood. And grease was overflowing into the sanitary sewer.
Thai Original BBQ didn't return a call for comment and is still closed.
A food truck from repeat offender Kenya's Catering was shut down at Durango and Russell on Jan. 2 for no hot water on the truck.
Ham, cheese and chorizo had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures.
There was also no sanitizer.
The truck was reinspected Jan. 3 and got a zero-demerit A grade. Our call for comment was not returned.
Don Chuy Mexican Grill on South Jones and Arby was shut down Jan. 2 for inadequate refrigeration.
Almost everything in the restaurant was in the temperature danger zone.
It was reinspected the same day and reopened with a zero demerit A grade. Our call for comment was not returned.
Chamango Mexican snacks, which was shut down at First Friday on Jan. 3, had the imminent health hazard of no water.
Inspectors also found multiple containers of cooked corn on the floor and multiple employees without health cards.
Chamango is still closed and did not return our call for comment.
Click here to see the health report for Las Pupusas Restaurant.
Click here to see the health report for Thai Original BBQ.
Click here to see the health report for Kenia's Catering #4.
Click here to see the health report for Don Chuy Mexican Grill.
Click here to see the health report for Chamango Mexican Snacks.