LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Walking into Denny's on the Las Vegas Strip, we're greeted by the smell of maple syrup and a sea of customers.
But employees make themselves scarce as soon as they see our camera.
No one wanted to talk, but while customers waited up to 40 minutes for their food, one employee took the time to stop working and videotape us with his cell phone.
This busy Denny's is in the Showcase Mall on Las Vegas Boulevard between Harmon and Tropicana avenues.
It got a 38-demerit C grade on its Feb. 12 inspection.
The person in charge washed hands without using soap, and a food handler wiped their face then began flipping pancakes.
And though improper handwashing is one of the most dangerous things in a commercial kitchen, it's this stuff that really stands out: spoiled lettuce and a moldy cucumber in the make table, ready for customer service.
Plus, two bags of moldy lettuce in the fridge had expired on Jan. 11.
Lettuce, hash browns, cooked chicken, ham and sausage, cooked grits and oatmeal and waffle mix were all in the temperature danger zone and had to be thrown out.
Cross contamination was in full swing as a food handler cooking chicken and beef on the same grill used the same utensil for both meats.
Cutting boards were dirty. The ice machine was moldy. Refrigerators were soiled inside and out. Even the ceiling was splattered with old food.
We were told no one at the restaurant was authorized to talk to us but we did get a call from a district manager shortly after we left.
We asked him about a note in the health inspection, which says Denny's has "a documented history of non-compliance" with the health code and has to have intervention training with the Health District.
He acknowledged the restaurant's ongoing troubles and said he's embarrassed by it, adding that he was recently brought in to turn things around and make sure employees are better trained.
Denny's still has a C grade.
7-Eleven on Boston Avenue near Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue was shut down Feb. 12 for rodents.
A customer complaint said: "I found rat manure and mold in the cooler."
The inspector found a "large amount of sticky residue in the cooler." She also saw rodent droppings and a dead mouse on an open sticky trap near the mop sink, which resulted in imminent health hazard closure.
The person in charge at 7-Eleven said this is not the first mouse they've recently caught. They knew of the hazard but failed to notify the Health District or self-close.
More rodent droppings and urine were discovered in the back room.
When the inspector tried to find more rodents, she noted too much trash, sticky residue and debris to see what's behind kick plates -- which is another place rodents like to hide.
Other violations included no sanitizer during active food preparation and black and gray frothy build-up on the soda machine's ice dispenser.
Our call to 7-Eleven for comment was not returned.
The store was back open on Feb. 14 with a zero-demerit A grade.
Click here to see the health report for Denny's.
Click here to see the health report for 7-Eleven.