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Smith's, El Buen Taco and more on Dirty Dining

Plus, Cici's Pizza, MLK Food Mart
Posted: 5:28 AM, Nov 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-28 08:28:09-05
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LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — This week's Dirty Dining begins with a gross grocer. The Smith's grocery chain is a multiple-time Dirty Dining repeat offender at multiple locations.

The one on Sahara and Maryland Parkway caught inspectors' attention because of a customer complaint.

The customer told the Health District a worker "was on her phone," then didn't wash her hands before "slicing a customer's meat."

The customer also said their chicken from the deli "looked burned, but inside it was raw."

Inspectors validated the complaint after personally witnessing lack of handwashing and multiple rotisserie chickens at a much too high a temperature: 194 degrees at a minimum.

The deli inside Smith's got a 35-demerit C grade on Nov. 14.

Inspectors also found multiple expired deli meats.

Sandwiches had to be thrown out due to improper cooling.

Chicken in the hot case had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures.

And the deli slicers were not being properly cleaned.

Also, old food contaminated a cooler door handle and sliding glass door rails of deli cases.

And floors around fryers were heavily dirty.

Smith's would not let us into the store and they wouldn't give us anyone to talk to on camera.

Smith’s Corporate Affairs Manager Aubriana Martindale emailed this statement from their corporate office in Utah: “Food safety and cleanliness standards are always a top priority at Smith’s. In this instance, we established an aggressive response to retrain our associates in key areas of the deli department. Due to fast action and corrective measures, within 3 business days, we received a final grade A rating from the health department. We will continue to educate and monitor operations to ensure proper food handling.”

Smith's was back to a zero-demerit A grade on Nov. 19.

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El Buen Taco is no bueno as it's now a four-time Dirty Dining repeat offender.

Their #2 food truck got 35 demerits on Nov. 12, plus the imminent health hazard of improper disposal of liquid waste.

It also earned the nickname 'roach coach' after inspectors found live cockroaches crawling in the storage compartment below the sink.

We found the El Buen Taco truck in the same place health inspectors did--a patch of desert along Hualapai near Sunset.

We were hoping to ask them some questions but the truck was empty even though the generator was on.

And, we found it leaking wastewater onto the ground, which is one of the main reasons it got shut down in the first place.

The operator told inspectors the truck broke down so they couldn't go back to the commissary to clean or fix it, but they were selling food anyway.

Other violations included ham, cheese and raw beef at unsafe temperatures, no hand soap whatsoever on the truck, and lettuce not washed before being served to customers.

Due to repeated non compliance, El Buen Taco had to attend a supervisory conference at the Health District.

It was back to a zero-demerit A grade on Nov. 18.

We did reach the owner by phone but she declined comment due to a language barrier.

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The cockroach invasion continued at the MLK Food Mart on Bonanza and MLK.

The snack bar was shut down Nov. 12 after inspectors validated a complaint about a cockroach inside a customer's cup when getting ice from the soda machine.

There were live, multi-generational German roaches inside the cabinets used for storing cups, sugar and cleaning supplies.

Roaches were crawling on top of soda cups, coffee cups and creamer containers. And there were dead roaches throughout the facility's back storage area.

Inspectors wrote up a repeat violation for excessive black mold on soda nozzles.

Shelves were lined with dirty cardboard and newspaper.

The floors were excessively dirty and the floor drain was covered in black slime.

The MLK Food Mart was back to a zero-demerit A grade on Nov. 21.

The owner said he got everything sorted out and it's all good now.

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Black Mountain Grill on Eastern and Sunridge Heights shut down Nov. 12 for a sewage back-up through floor drains throughout restaurant.

The restaurant immediately self-closed, notified the Health District and called a plumber who was able to fix the issue within hours.

So they did the right thing and handled the imminent health hazard exactly as required.

But there were a few other violations.

Inspectors who arrived on scene after the self-closure also noted black mold in the ice machine, a slicer dirty with old food, moldy soda nozzles and dirty floors in the freezer.

Black Mountain Grill was back to a zero-demerit A grade the same day.

Owner Tommy Rocker said he's proud of his staff for doing everything right, pleased with the quick response from the Health District and his plumber, and happy they were able to re-open so quickly.

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Cici's Pizza is a Dirty Dining repeat offender. This time, it's the Tropicana and Eastern location. It was shut down Nov. 16 after Clark County Water Reclamation called the Health District.

There was sewage flowing across the parking common area into the alleyway.

Floor drains inside the kitchen had been plugged with towels and they were vacuuming sewage into buckets and dumping the buckets out the back. All of this while openly handling food.

Inspectors also documented dirty wiping cloths and an employee's cell phone and keys on a prep table.

Cici's was back to zero-demerit A grade on Nov. 22.

Cici's sent a statement saying, “This location has been in a constant maintenance battle with the landlord who originally built this as an attachment to the main building. In the past years, we’ve dealt with many exterior and interior issues and, needless to say, are looking forward to relocating this store in the coming months. Out of respect to our great customers, we’ve extended our $4.99 lunch buffet to all day Monday-Friday.“

Click here to see the report for El Buen Taco.

Click here to see the report for Smith's Deli.

Click here to see the complaint for Smith's Deli.

Click here to see the report for MLK Food Mart.

Click here to see the complaint for MLK Food Mart.