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DIRTY DINING: Rats at Vegas Buffet

Posted at 10:45 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 02:53:23-05

Rats! That's what shut down the restaurant in the latest Dirty Dining after inspectors found droppings all over the place, including feces in the food.

For most of us, rats in a restaurant are no laughing matter. 

PHOTOS: Dirty Dining Feb. 22, 2017

But Max Shen can't stop yucking it up as he tries to help explain Vegas Buffet's serious effort to rid themselves of rodents. He says he is a regular who runs a Los Angeles-based travel business bringing tourist groups to Las Vegas.

"That makes me shocked!" Shen said when he heard the kitchen was overrun with rats.

There's so much in Health District records about Vegas Buffet, which is on Flamingo Road between Maryland Parkway and Spencer Street.

A fly strip from the dry storage area that was chock full of insects pales in comparison to the rat infestation. 

Droppings weren't just on the floor. There was poop on boxes, shelves and, yes -- in the food -- including uncovered flour, wonton strips and around cooling chicken.

Rats were apparently scurrying around the restaurant too, since inspectors found more droppings on the dining room floor.

"Probably, the previous owner had a problem, had a bad record for the kitchen, everything," Shen said. "[The current owner] never know that."

As if the rats aren't enough, inspectors also found fish left out at room temperature and blood on the floor below. 

There was raw meat in a bucket of pooling blood on the fridge floor, lots of slime in the ice machine, and raw chicken left on the counter to thaw in wet cardboard boxes.

"He never know anything about bad record, the environment, before they're saying it's so serious, you know, awful, you know? Never know that," Shen said.

Two days after the Health District shut Vegas Buffet's doors, inspectors were back to make note of more rodent droppings. 

There was urine, feces and fur found throughout the facility. They even used a black light to see the extent of the problem.

They found a rat's nest inside a hole in the wall at the back of the dry storage area.   

And Vegas Buffet told the Health District they'd caught four rodents on glue traps the previous day. 

Rats left teeth marks in the nacho sauce. They were also eating paper, chewing through plastic and nibbling on the moist towelettes.

Was Vegas Buffet's owners concerned for their customers when these conditions were uncovered?

"I think he would be concerned more than before. He cleaned before there are customer complaints. That's more better," Shen said.

Vegas Buffet was closed for a week to deal with the rats. They reopened with a zero-demerit A grade.