Occasionally, we meet great people who greet adversity with a smile, and Shirley Kuo is one of them.
"I don't know that much!" she admits with a laugh. "Since (the health inspection brought all this stuff to my) attention, it's like, ohhhh! Really?!"
Kuo is the new owner of China Mama on Jones between Spring Mountain and Desert Inn.
It was shut down with 46 demerits on its April 9 inspection with a note about continued non-compliance with food regulations.
"Basically it's knowledge," Kuo said. "We didn't update it."
They reopened April 13 with a zero-demerit A grade after agreeing to have monthly food safety training, a professional company to deep clean equipment and checklists to maintain cleanliness and ensure food safety.
"The health inspection is doing us a favor. What about if people get sick and sue us? Then what are we going to do?"
On April 9, inspectors saw multiple handwashing violations and milk that had been expired for three days was found in the cookline cooler.
Unwashed celery was stacked on washed produce and cooked shrimp was stored in a plastic grocery bag.
"People say once if you made news nobody even wanted to come see you because they say you're dirty, food is dirty. No, it's not that. It's not dirty."
She credits the Health District for their comprehensive clean-up.
"People always say they are trouble makers. I don't think so. I think that's necessary. And the people that work there really work together with us, try to help."
She hired a new chef and new manager to help keep her on track.
"I wish you the best of luck," said Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears. "I know this is a tough business but everything looks so good."
And Kuo has a message for diners.
"Our food is so delicious. Just because we have this little trouble doesn't mean we don't care for our customers. We do. We really, really do!"
Moving on to imminent health hazard closures, Papa John's Pizza on Nellis and Stewart was shut down April 13 for inadequate refrigeration.
Multiple containers of pizza toppings and chicken wings were found at unsafe temperatures and all food in the walk-in cooler and make table had to be thrown out.
The person in charge told inspectors she'd requested repairs for the fridge many times.
Inspectors also found heavy build-up on the can opener blade and its storage holster.
They reopened within hours with a zero-demerit A grade.
No one from Papa John's returned our call for comment. But after the story aired, we received the following corporate statement:
“Food safety is of the utmost importance to Papa John’s, and we have protocols in place to ensure food is served and stored at proper temperatures. We understand from the franchisee that this issue was the result of an equipment failure and fixed within hours. To ensure the repaired equipment causes no future issues, the franchisee is replacing it with brand new equipment this week.”
The other imminent health hazard closure was Pachuca Hidalgo Catering, which is making its fifth appearance on Dirty Dining.
The repeat offender food truck was shut down April 11 for improper wastewater disposal and no hot water.
There were also open employee drinks on the cutting board and employee cell phones and purses in a container of onions.
They reopened April 13 with a zero-demerit A grade.
Pachuca Hidalgo's owner said the violations were nothing to cause alarm. She said some days stuff doesn't work, they do their best to keep up with maintenance and they apologize.
Documents for this week's Dirty Dining
Weekly Restaurant Downgrade Report
China Mama reinspection report