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DIRTY DINING: Las Americas shut down for trifecta of issues

Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 02:51:32-04

Rodents, sewage on the kitchen floor and expired food. 

It's a Dirty Dining trifecta that shut down a valley restaurant twice in just a matter of days.

PHOTOS: Dirty Dining March 29, 2017

At Las Americas on Eastern and Sahara avenues, there were 47 demerits plus imminent health hazards -- sewage backing up onto the kitchen floor, lack of adequate handwashing facilities and unsanitary conditions.

That's why inspectors shut the Peruvian restaurant down. Well that and the rodents.

"They were here," owner Carlos Lazarte said of the rodents.

Inspectors didn't see any actual rodents either. But they saw plenty of rodent feces throughout the back prep area. 

Lazarte showed us where the droppings were when he invited us into the kitchen. He says the landlord is to blame for the rodents.

"That is the building's responsibility. I mean, they are supposed to close all those holes and take care of all that stuff. There is nothing we can do about it."

Inspectors also found the handsink drain in severe disrepair, backing waste water up into the kitchen and spilling it into adjacent areas. 

Pictures show the goopy mess of a drain and the dark gray water they'd been mopping up off the kitchen floor.

Restaurants are supposed to close on their own when there's an imminent health hazard. How come that didn't happen?

"We didn't notice," Lazarte said. "I mean actually, we were working on it so we were with our landlord trying to fix all those problems."

Another problem? Expired food including 12-day-old beef, week-old noodles and beans that were made back in February. 

Why would that still be in the fridge?

"No, the thing what happened is like the first time. I mean, actually, we were trying to label everything again," Lazarte said.

He says the labels were expired, not the food. 

Inspectors also found shrimp that had been left out for an extended period, a large amount of build-up on the citrus juicer and lots of grease build-up on hood filters and hoses. Plus, the floors were filthy.  All that contributed to Las Americas failing their re-inspection, and having to stay closed.  

The restaurant called for re-inspection but Las Americas failed again.

"Uh, I mean, actually no, I mean, any time when you have the Health Department there is little issues," Lazarte said. "They are doing a great job, really, because they push us to do, you know, the right thing."

The next imminent health hazard closure came at Taco Rico on Main Street and Wyoming Avenue. 

If their health report doesn't make your skin crawl, you must be a cockroach! 

Taco Rico was shut down for a multi-generational cockroach infestation. Inspectors found live roaches crawling inside the oven and an excessive amount of dead ones on the kitchen floor and cabinets. There was even a cockroach egg casing on the ice machine. 

Excessive food debris and grease on the oven and stock pot burner gave the roaches a reason to come and stay. There was also expired beef, pork and tripe. And a cot, indicating someone was living in the food storage area.

ABC + 1 Tacos Del Norte food truck was shut down for operating under two imminent health hazards: no hot water and a wastewater tank leaking onto the ground while the truck was in operation.

And Bob's Market snack bar on Centennial Parkway and Goldfield Street was also shut down for having no hot water.

Las Americas and Bob's Market snack bar are both back open with 3-demerit A grades. 

ABC 1 Tacos Del Norte and Taco Rico now have zero-demerit As.