LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Most restaurants that get a "C" grade from the Health District would keep the customers coming and the money rolling in... because they can.
But Narit Chaiwon said Narong's Thai Kitchen is not like most restaurants.
"We follow up everything," Chaiwon said.
By everything, he means all the violations health inspectors wrote up during the July 6 inspection.
"And then we told them we were going to close and fix everything."
Chaiwon says inspectors showed up at his restaurant on Craig Road and Nellis Boulevard during the lunch rush, leaving him with a 33-demerit "C" grade.
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"That's very bad for me. I feel like... I don't want to be like that."
Inspectors saw an employee handle raw meat, then prepared food without changing gloves or washing hands. And proper handwashing wasn't even an option because there was no hot water at hand sinks.
Rice scoops sat in standing water.
Dirty dishes were stored in the same sink as thawing raw chicken.
Raw beef sat above ready to eat noodles.
Ventilation hoods and walls were dirty and pipes were leaking.
"Was there anything that the Health District wrote up that you disagreed with, or do you think all the violations were warranted?" Darcy Spears asked.
"Yeah, I agree with them," Chaiwon responded.
Even though that meant losing a lot of inventory: cooked shrimp, cooked chicken, pork belly, raw eggs, shredded lettuce, cooked rice, tofu and cut cabbage were all at unsafe temperatures.
"We threw everything away," Chaiwon said.
"That's a lot of money in the garbage," Spears noted.
"We don't mind," said Chaiwon. "We want to keep the Health District happy, customers happy."
Narong's was re-inspected on July 12 and got a five-demerit "A" grade.
Chaiwon expects inspectors back in six months to make sure it stays on track.
Sammy’s Food Service, a Dirty Dining repeat offender, had a truck taken off the road at Oquendo Road near Valley View Boulevard on July 7 for the issue many food trucks are facing this summer--inadequate refrigeration.
Mobile vendors just can’t keep cool enough in the summer heat.
In addition to having to throw out lots of food in the temperature danger zone, Sammy's was tagged for condensation dripping onto uncovered foods and a complete absence of sanitizer during active food preparation.
It was re-inspected on July 8 and got a zero-demerit "A" grade.
We were unable to reach anyone for comment.
Another multiple-time repeat offender, Kenia’s Catering, also had a truck shut down for inadequate refrigeration.
Kenia’s number 1 truck was taken out of service on July 7 at Via Altamira and Avenida Brancusi in Inspirada in Henderson.
They had to throw out a lot of food due to unsafe temperatures.
Deli ham was stored on top of raw meat in the same container.
Kenia's was also tagged for not submitting monthly route sheets so the Health District could easily find them for inspections.
The truck was re-inspected on July 12 and got a zero-demerit "A" grade.
Our call for comment was not returned.
The Best Hummus Ever, a pop-up vendor, was shut down on July 9 at the Green Valley Farmers Market.
It also got 25 demerits.
Inspectors say the only food handler was not washing her hands between taking customers’ money and giving out hummus samples on chopped pita bread.
They didn’t even have soap, so employees had to borrow it from another vendor in order to wash their hands. And the inspector says after the inspection, the food handler dumped hand-sink water onto the dirt ground.
Inspectors say multiple hummus samples and the pesto sample were in the temperature danger zone and had to be thrown out.
And the person in charge was not knowledgeable about foodborne illness.
The inspector also took issue with them using sealed mason jars for pesto sauce—saying that creates an atmosphere to grow botulism.
Owner Hannhyer Silva was required to attend a Food Safety Assessment Meeting.
The Best Hummus Ever was re-inspected on July 13 and got a three-demerit "A" grade.
But Silva took issue with the inspector and the inspection process, which she said was unlike any she's had in the five years she's been working farmer's markets.
She sent the following written statement:
"This was the first time we had an inspection like that. We've been working at the Farmers Market since 2016 and all the inspectors were always very professional and respectful. They've always given us "A" grades and all the rules were very clear. But that didn't happen this time. The inspector gave us demerits for our labels, which she mentioned were 'not approved' when we knew this wasn't a rule for us--Farmers Market vendors. I tried to tell her that but she wouldn't accept it. I had to talk to her supervisor and then she fixed it and took it off our report later that day. Early in the morning that day it was already very hot. At the time of the inspection, we had our ice almost melting. It was 112-degrees that day. We always do our best but she didn't allow us to change the ice and continue working. It's very hard to work outside during these high temperatures but we change our ice all the time. Also, I had the sanitizer pack item that she said was missing in my van but she decided to shut us down without a chance. It could all be fixed in minutes without having me shut down. She came when we were still finishing the set-up. We were wearing gloves and using tongs. When I asked about some demerits that we never heard of before and were never mentioned to get our permits, she said she was not responsible for what others say and proceeded to shut me down. We were definitely against the wall and couldn't continue working or selling with no samples. But our customers understood the situation and came back the following week. I felt that we were unfairly targeted and she wasn't haing a good day. We had to pay the $1400 fee and then we had our permit back four days later."
Repeat offender Pachuca Hidalgo Catering is already on probation with the Health District.
It had a truck taken off the road at Revere Street and Dorrell Lane off the 215 West in a construction area on July 6 for two imminent health hazards – improper disposal of liquid waste and inadequate refrigeration.
The wastewater tank was profusely leaking onto the ground.
Cheese, tomatoes, ham, beef, fries and eggs all had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures.
Lemon juice, ketchup and nacho cheese sauce were stored under the sink next to cooking grease.
Grill utensils sat in dirty water and the cutting board was dirty with old food.
Inspectors wrote, "Facility has continued to show a history of non-compliance. Before re-inspection, must have managerial conference."
The person in charge told us owner Carlos Rodríguez is sick and has decided to close his food truck business due to ongoing hassle with the Health District.
She said the inspector came to the truck when they were almost finished for the day.
"Temperatures were very hot, so things weren’t regulating and we asked for a few minutes to bring temperatures down but the inspector didn’t care. The water leaking under the truck wasn’t wastewater. We tried to explain it was condensation but she wouldn’t listen. They shut us down, but we need the money every day. Give us time to fix things instead of imposing the fine! The Health District doesn’t enforce the rules equally and the inspector should have some empathy. We challenge them to spend one day in the truck and see what we go through to make a living before you say there’s something wrong with our food or how we prepare it. This isn’t about bad food or people getting sick. It’s really unfair. We work hard but they don’t care."
Click here to see the health report for Narong's Thai Kitchen.
Click here to see the health report for The Best Hummus Ever.
Click here to see the health report for Pachuca Hidalgo Catering.
Click here to see the health report for Sammy's Food Service Mobile #8.
Click here to see the health report for Kenia's Catering.