LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Many would consider rats at a restaurant the ultimate health hazard.
But Cafe Moda owner Bill Carney says in his case it's not as big a deal as it seems on the health inspection that temporarily shut him down.
"I don't really have a concern at all about our pest control procedures," Carney said.
Cafe Moda, a karaoke bar that specializes in Filipino food, has been in business on Jones Boulevard and Desert Inn Road for 17 years.
It was shut down on Jan. 27 for a rodent infestation even though Carney told inspectors they'd had pest control service the day before.
"However, they already made the decision, because they didn't know whether there was an active infestation or not, to close in a protective way for the health of the public," he said. "Which I support."
He says they have stepped up their rodent pest control over the past few months.
"Nobody saw rats or mice scurrying around in here," noted Darcy Spears. "But according to the health report, there was plenty of evidence that they were there. Their list is fairly extensive of where they found droppings and urine: in a bus tub, on clean glasses, on shelving, next to plastic cups and utensils, on the floor under equipment on the hot line, along the back wall in the dry storage room, in the liquor storage room, behind the hot water heater and behind the washer and dryer. So that's a lot!"
"It's a lot," Carney agreed, "although, many of those items are in the same area," which he says is not part of their daily cleaning regimen.
"And the other thing which I take a little bit of exception to, the report made it sound as though we had glassware that had droppings on it. We haven't had a banquet in nearly a year and those were banquet goblets that were stored on a shelf in the back, so they were clean but they weren't used for a long period of time so that was not a recent problem."
Inspectors say rats had free access to Cafe Moda through multiple holes in walls and around pipes, as well as through missing drywall and ceiling tiles.
Other violations aside from the rodent issues included raw beef stored overcooked pork and raw chicken over calamari and beef.
Cooked pork, ground chicken, intestines, shrimp paste and rice were not date-labeled.
And employees' open water bottle and food sat above customer food.
"Those are some pretty basic kitchen operation things," said Spears. "What did you tell your staff about those violations?"
"Well, I reinforced it," Carney said. "And personally, I have a zero-tolerance for these types of things, which I think is due to employees wanting their convenience rather than recognizing the health and cross-contamination issues that can come up with that."
Inspectors told Cafe Moda to deep clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces.
After a Jan. 29 re-inspection returned them to a zero demerit "A" grade, Carney looks to what he hopes will be the not-too-distant future.
"We hope to see some reduction in the restrictions coming up here soon so that we might be able to kind of reestablish the environment we had a year ago where it's a great place to meet your friends and enjoy music and dancing and all the things that we used to do."
The highest demerits in this batch of inspections went to a local favorite: Roberto's taco shop on Windmill Lane and Eastern Avenue.
It got a 35-demerit "C" grade on its Jan. 25 inspection.
There have been several Roberto's locations on Dirty Dining, but it's a first for this one.
RELATED TO ROBERTO'S TACO SHOP:
Inspectors found them serving up some 12-day-old sauce.
Improperly cooled beans had to be thrown out.
A bucket of pooled eggs was sitting at room temperature.
Other foods in the temperature danger zone included cooked sausages, cooked potatoes, guacamole, diced tomatoes, sour cream and lettuce.
There were several repeat violations including a tub of raw beef stored on top of ready-to-eat tortillas and not enough sanitizer in prepared buckets.
Also, employee purses, speakers and drinks were stored over food prep surfaces.
Roberto's was re-inspected on Feb. 2 and got a zero demerit "A" grade.
The owner said she had no comment.
El Pollo Mobile is now a three-peat re-offender on Dirty Dining.
It was closed on Jan. 27 for two imminent health hazards and 30 demerits.
Inspectors found the trailer on Rainbow Boulevard and Smoke Ranch Road operating without any water at all, so handwashing was a big problem.
The other imminent health hazard was inadequate refrigeration.
El Pollo Mobile's fridge was too full to hold a safe temperature and there were more than 100 pounds of raw chicken in the temperature danger zone.
A pot of cooked beans had been left out on the stove overnight and was only thrown out after inspectors questioned it.
Cut lettuce sat on a dirty cooler shelf.
The cutting board was extremely dirty and pitted.
And the ground behind the trailer was littered with excessive debris, old mop water and broken equipment.
Due to two consecutive closures, El Pollo Mobile is now on thin ice with the Health District and must have intervention training before it can re-open.
Our call for comment was not returned, but a manager at one of their other locations said the Rainbow Boulevard unit is closed for remodeling and won't be open for another week or so.
Click here to see the health report for Roberto's Taco Shop.
Click here to see the health report for El Pollo Mobile #2.
Click here to see the health report for Cafe Moda Restaurant.