Local News


Dirty Dining: T-Bird Lounge, Baja Fresh and Northside Nathan's

Posted at 10:45 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 13:31:03-04

What a difference a day makes.

Or in this case, six years. 

A restaurant once given the Action News Blue Ribbon Award is now on Dirty Dining. 

Call it a fall from grace or just one bad day. 

Either way, T-Bird Lounge on Lindell and Blue Diamond is topping the Dirty Dining list with a 40-demerit C grade. 

The restaurant, which is run by a former channel 13 employee, was just one demerit short of shutdown by the Health District.

In 2011, T-Bird was lauded by Action News for excellence in food preparation and customer care at the time.

"The things that had gone wrong were not things that--they seemed a lot worse than they were," said co-owner Mary Alice Rasmuson. "We had an employee who's gone through a lot of emotional stuff recently. She answered some questions wrong."

The person in charge couldn't demonstrate basic food safety knowledge on inspection day, but that's not the only problem. 

Inspectors also documented improper handwashing by three different food handlers, one of them after handling raw meat. 

And expired gravy with sausage that was 11 days old.

"There was nothing that was 11 days old that we were serving the public," said Rasmuson.

But it was in the fridge. The Health District's picture shows the expired food inspectors say was made on site and dated April 24.

Darcy Spears: And then this was a May 4 inspection. What would explain that?
Mary Alice: I'm not going to explain anything more fully other than we have 100%, we're ready for business and we take great pride in the cleanliness and the service of our customers and we always will.

Inspectors also found unwrapped potato skins stored in an old, used cardboard box. They went into the garbage. 

Onion dip and potato salad also had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures. Same with corned beef hash and feta cheese. 

"We absolutely take our job very seriously and we take health inspections very seriously so absolutely we did everything in our power right away to make sure that that wouldn't occur again," Rasmuson said.

There was a repeat violation for a scoop with no handle in ready-to-eat spices. 

And cooked veggies and sliced fruit were uncovered and unprotected from contamination.

"At this location, we've been here since 2005 and we've never, ever had an inspection like that. So it's all good to go. We're happy."

T-Bird Lounge earned a zero-demerit A grade during re-inspection, which was coincidentally wrapping up right as we walked in.

Sewage at Baja Fresh leads the list of imminent health hazards. 

Inspectors following up on a complaint found liquid waste backing up out of floor drains throughout the Baja Fresh location on Mall Ring Circle near Sunset and Stephanie. 

The complaint described lots of smoke in the kitchen, flooding drains and overflowing trash. Inspectors found that to be valid and closed the place immediately. 

In addition to the ventilation and sewage issues, inspectors also saw fruit flies around the tea and soda dispensers. And regular flies on the cutting board and on food on the cook line.

Northside Nathan's on West Lake Mead near Buffalo was shut down for inadequate refrigeration. 

There was also mold and slime in the ice machine and excessive build-up on the fridge floor.

T-Bird Lounge, Baja Fresh and Northside Nathan's all now have zero-demerit A grades.