Kitchen nightmare: Dirty Denny's reopens after cleaning up its act

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FERNDALE, Wash. -- Do you ever wonder what the kitchen looks like in your favorite restaurant?

One cook shot cell phone video of dirty floors and old food piled up at a local Denny’s and posted it to YouTube and now the health department is on the case.

A manager said the video was shot by a disgruntled employee who doesn’t work at Denny’s anymore. But customers said it’s the employees who are getting hurt since that YouTube video killed their business.

If you like to eat out, the video is hard to watch. An unidentified ex-employee at the Ferndale Denny’s posted the video online – highlighting a sickeningly dirty kitchen. From filthy floors to food-stained microwaves, the video posted in May has now gone viral.

“We’d classify it as gross,” said Tom Kunesh with the Whatcom County Health Department. Kunesh said his office started hearing from concerned diners last week.

Once the store’s management saw the video, they closed the place for a top to bottom deep-cleaning. On Tuesday, health inspectors made a surprise visit to the restaurant.

“We do want to follow up and make sure that they have a sound plan and that they’re following a plan for cleaning, repeated violations like this if they don’t get addressed can result in food contamination,” said Kunesh. ”It’s just not as likely as other violations.”

“I think it’s a bunch of crap, I don’t think he should have done it in the first place,” said customer Jackie Mills. “They’re losing business; they’re losing money, losing hours, losing time, and tips. That’s what I’m saying, tips are big!”

“Instead of actually confronting the situation by talking to the manager or even talking to somebody higher up in Denny’s, he chose to do it in social media,” said customer Heather Campbell. “Because of that, they’ve created a lot of problems for these poor people that work here. Their tip money is going to be down because people that have never been here will pass it by and that’s not fair.”

The restaurant has been on the health department’s radar for more than a year.

Denny’s corporate office sent a statement saying, "At Denny’s, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality experience for our guests, and that includes both the food we serve and the condition of our restaurants. We take any report that suggests otherwise very seriously and any kitchen in violation of local health standards is unacceptable, evaluated and corrected immediately. We dispatched resources to the Ferndale restaurant to work with the local health department to ensure food quality and safety at this location. The department has inspected and approved the condition of the Ferndale, WA restaurant and it is open for business."

Lucky for Denny’s their fans are loyal, saying the video’s not going to keep you from coming back.

“We will continue to come to Denny’s and we have since the video came out,” said Campbell.

One of the employees said if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean. The employee thinks the ex-cook should have pitched in and cleaned up the mess instead of posting it online.