LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The first thing we notice when walking into Ono Sushi on Eastern Avenue and Flamingo Road is the crowd.
Despite a state-imposed six-person capacity at tables, we spot a pre-pandemic-sized party of 10 at a large table in the middle of a restaurant that had recently been shut down by health inspectors.
On March 2, inspectors found excessive rodent droppings on shelves, boxes holding food supplies and floors.
There was no sign of it impacting open food.
The last pest control report, which was from January, documented one dead mouse and live ones bingeing on bait but too crafty to get caught.
"What concerned you about that?" Darcy Spears asked Ono Owner Chris Chandra. "Obviously, that's a pretty significant health threat."
Chandra replied, "My concern is basically the landlord just ignoring my trash! It's been overflowing!"
The Health District noted that and ordered Ono to clean it up.
Chandra said it's been an ongoing battle with the landlord.
"The landlord is supposed to pay Republic Services. But Republic Services always skipping, skipping, skipping, skipping, skipping."
The trash issue is outside Ono's back door. Conditions inviting rodents inside included densely packed containers of paper goods and boxes that were not rotated or cleaned frequently, as well as lots of holes in walls and ceilings.
"I heard because the Strip was closed, all those rats... All those critters go off the Strip and then they look for it," said Chandra. "They're everywhere! Because the health inspector that checks on us says, 'I understand, it's not only you.' "
The inspector also said there were excessive dirt and debris on floors under equipment and a plumbing leak.
Other violations included cooked shrimp and rice in the temperature danger zone and utensils used for raw fish stored in lukewarm standing water.
"Sometimes they have to make a report," said Chandra. "They have to make stories so they write more. I mean, that's what they're doing."
He said he agrees with the violations but sees them as "over-exaggerating."
During that March 2 inspection, Ono was given 48 hours to throw out paper goods and boxes that were gnawed and contaminated by rodent feces and urine; identify and seal areas where rodents were getting in, nesting and breeding; make sure there were no rodents in the ceiling; clean and sanitize the entire facility and log rodent activity.
"It was very tough! I worked all night long," said Chandra.
But the Health District says it wasn't enough. On March 4 when inspectors went back to check, staff admitted they’d failed to document the live rodents seen while cleaning.
And they hadn’t thoroughly checked the ceiling for rodent nests or sufficiently patched holes recommended by their pest control company, so inspectors shut them down.
"And now everything's sealed off, everything's cleaned up and now Orkin comes every day to check," Chandra said.
Ono re-opened on March 5 with a zero-demerit "A" grade.
"Aside from the health report, I've got to ask you--your restaurant is packed!" Spears pointed out. "There are tons of people in here. There are more than six people at that table and more than 50% capacity, it looks like. So, what's up with that?"
Chandra said the large party insisted on sitting together and he wasn't about to turn away business.
"I'm welcoming the business. I mean, I'm a small business. I have to run. I need to pay my employees still. I need to make a living. I have kids at home. I have a mortgage to pay. We need to survive. There's no way I'm going to say, 'I cannot take you'. "
Otherwise, Chandra says he couldn't make ends meet.
Soul Foo Young got a 38-demerit “C” grade on March 4, leaving it three demerits short of being shut down.
The Asian Southern restaurant on Owens Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was selling ribs that had been grilled at an employee’s home, then left out on a counter at room temperature.
Lots of other food, including four boxes of thawing chicken, was in the temperature danger zone.
There were open containers of chicken and spices on the floor, greens stored in a trash bag and active food prep in a sink filled with dirty dishes.
The potato prep station consisted of a trash can and the floor.
Dirty wiping cloths were used on counters.
The produce was not washed before being prepped and the freezer and ceiling tiles were dirty.
Owner Artisha Hall said, "I was short-staffed. It was a bad day with two call-ins and the kitchen wasn’t in the best shape when they [inspectors] came. There's no excuse. Life comes at you fast and you just gotta deal with it. It's all fixed now and we're scheduled for re-inspection on Thursday.”
Del Valle mobile catering’s #3 food truck was shut down on March 3 in the Pic-a-Part parking lot on Lamb Boulevard near Lone Mountain Road.
It failed re-inspection from a previous “C” downgrade due to repeated critical violations.
They were selling food made at the owner’s house.
Inspectors noted repeat violations for sliced tomatoes, eggs and grilled jalapenos at unsafe temps; raw bacon stored with cooked ham in the same container; raw chicken and ready-to-eat ham in the same container; raw chorizo and raw beef in the same container; raw beef stored in a plastic grocery bag and a person in charge unable to convey food safety knowledge.
Avocados were not washed before being cut and they were selling expired cookies.
Inspectors say Del Valle has a “documented history of non-compliant inspections.”
We were unable to reach anyone for comment.
Orange Julius/Dairy Queen at the Las Vegas Outlet Center on Las Vegas Boulevard and Warm Springs Road was shut down on March 1 for no hot water.
Owner Jim Adison said there was a defect in the water heater they weren't aware of. He explained they had plenty of hot water for handwashing and only noticed the temperature issue after the inspector filled the three-compartment sink.
He’s now requiring employees to keep a temperature log to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Orange Julius/Dairy Queen was re-inspected on March 2 and received a zero demerit “A” grade.
Click here to see the closure report for Ono Sushi.
Click here to see the downgrade report for Ono Sushi.
Click here to see the closure report for Soul Foo Young.
Click here to see the closure report for Del Valle Catering Mobile.
Click here to see the closure report for Dairy Queen at Outlet.