Famous Dave’s does quick about-face after health hazard closure

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Famous Dave’s never thought it would wind up on Dirty Dining.

“More than anything it really was bad timing,” said Area Director Tino Rodriguez.

The barbecue restaurant on Blue Diamond and Arville was shut down March 9 after inspectors validated a complaint that they were operating without adequate hot water, which requires self closure and notifying the Health District.

“Everybody didn’t get the memo that we’re supposed to notify,” said Tino, “but we did the responsible thing with the shutdown.”

Without hot water, neither hands nor dishes can be properly washed and sanitized per the health code.

Famous Dave’s did self-close but then reopened when they thought they were good to go.

Darcy Spears: “They wouldn’t have ordered you to shut down for an imminent health hazard if there wasn’t any food prep going on during that time. So what’s the disconnect there?”
Tino: “So, the disconnect was we were told by our maintenance crew that we were going to be fully operational by 11:00 am so we went based off that.”

A plumber was on site when the health inspector arrived but there was no hot water in the kitchen. Famous Dave’s was re-opened later that same day with an 8-demerit A grade.

But just over a week later… everything changed.

Like many restaurants struggling to survive, Famous Dave’s is now all take-out all the time–that, plus, curbside pick up and delivery with a laser focus on deep cleaning in the kitchen.

They’ve got a white board to keep track of all cleaning tasks.

Rodriguez says though employees have been furloughed, there will be no layoffs. Those who can’t serve or cook and want to keep making money during the furlough are welcomed in to help clean.

Darcy: “If nothing else, when you are allowed to bring the public back in, you feel comfortable telling them they’re coming in to the cleanest environment since you opened your doors?”
Tino: “Absolutely! And not just my restaurant.”

He hopes everyone is taking advantage of this unfortunate time to deep clean.

And with that in mind, here are a few places that need to heed that advice.


Cold Stone Creamery on North Durango and the 215 was shut down March 10 after a validated complaint that employees were not washing hands before serving and that there was no person in charge to enforce the health code.

The only restroom accessible to employees stunk and the toilet couldn’t flush.

And equipment, coolers, food contact surfaces, shelves, floors and walls throughout the facility were excessively dirty.

There was also no employee health policy about when not to come to work.

Despite all that, Cold Stone was back to a zero-demerit A grade the next day, March 11.


Thai Place on Maryland Parkway and Flamingo was shut down March 13 for a multi-generational cockroach infestation.

Inspectors found bugs infesting an outlet, on walls, inside wooden cabinets and beneath metal shelving where bulk seasonings mingled with trash and debris.

There was also a large amount of roach feces surrounding outlets near handsinks, behind the freezer and on walls.

Heavy grease buildup and old food throughout the facility contributed to the infestation.

The Health District’s website shows Thai Place is still closed.


China Star on Craig between Revere and Martin Luther King got a 39-demerit C grade on its March 9 inspection.

Violations included food in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours, not cleaning and sanitizing equipment or work surfaces between preparing different types of raw meat and a repeat major violation for the dish machine not sanitizing.

There were also fly strips hanging over the prep sink, tongs stored on a gas pipe and the interior freezer door and wall was extremely rusted.

China Star was back to a zero-demerit A grade on March 13.

We did reach out to Cold Stone, China Star and Thai Place to get their explanation for the violations but none of them answered the phone.

Click here to see the health report for Cold Stone Creamery.

Click here to see the health report for China Star Kitchen.

Click here to see the health report for Famous Dave’s Restaurant.

Click here to see the health report for Thai Place.

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