by Doug Powell
A Las Vegas local restaurant owner is angry with the Southern Nevada Health District. And he’s speaking out after his restaurant was shut down.
“You have no reason to go shut it down, Gabriel Adefris told KTNV. “And you think this list is basically nothing?” asks Darcy. “Nothing. For me nothing, yes,” says Gabriel.
He firmly believes his business has been treated unfairly. Gabriel owns the Cottage Cafe on Paradise Road, near Tropicana Avenue. During a recent visit, health inspectors shut down the Ethiopian restaurant with 49 demerits. Anything more than 40 means an automatic closure.
Contact 13 went to the Cottage Cafe to ask about the long list of violations. Gabriel was more than willing to show us around and answer all of our questions.
“What’s the deal with the bar? It notes that they told you on December 8 and January 17 to get it permitted. But you failed to do that,” says Darcy. “No. I did call them,” says Gabriel.
Gabriel claims he tried to make appointments to get his bar inspected. But after leaving multiple messages, he says they never returned his calls.
“So there’s no way I could force them to come down here, it’s not my job,” says Gabriel.
I also asked Gabriel about an employee, inspectors say washed her hands without soap, multiple times.
“That’s not true. She washed it, she used soaps all the time here. Nobody use without soap water, there’s no way,” says Gabriel. “So you think the health inspector is lying?” asks Darcy. “Yes, they’re lying. They lie. 100%, they’re lying,” says Gabriel.
And he didn’t stop there. He says health inspectors are too critical. Like citing his restaurant for a dirty can opener he claims was being used by an employee.
“They shouldn’t write it down. Small stuff like that you write it down. Once she’s done she’s got to go and wash it anyways. Right?” says Gabriel. “So she just hadn’t gotten to that can opener yet,” says Darcy. “Yes. They didn’t even give her time,” says Gabriel.
But Cottage Cafe has made our Dirty Dining list before. In September of 2010, the restaurant was forced to close its doors with 58 demerits.
Gabriel feels like he’s being targeted
“So you believe they’re looking for violations and writing down stuff that doesn’t exist just to bilk you for money?” asks Darcy. “That’s what I think. Because my employees they know what to do. They know their job,” says Gabriel.
Gabriel wants customers to know his restaurant is clean and his food is safe.
We spoke with the Health District, which says all restaurants must pass the same regulations. Every inspector’s main priority is the public’s health and safety and they stand by their report. They also tell us the Cottage Cafe is back open, and operating with a 7 demerit A grade.