HOLMES BEACH, Fla. - A popular Italian restaurant near the beach was shut down earlier this month after state inspectors found over 85 german roaches in 20 different locations throughout the kitchen.
And an inspection in September discovered 40 pounds of food at the wrong temperature and all of it had to be thrown out.
The place is Island Gourmet on Marina Drive in Holmes Beach.
The manager on duty at Island Gourmet did not want to give us his name but did say he's worked at the restaurant for the past year and was shocked about recent problems.
"So were you surprised when the state shut you down?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.
"Yeah I was, because I've seen worse," he said.
On February 7, state inspectors closed Island Gourmet for 24 hours after finding over 85 live and dead german roaches next to the pizza oven, in and under pizza boxes, and near the prep table, cookline and espresso machine.
"They treated the building," the manager explained about the pest control company.
"But they weren't doing the job?" asked Ryan.
"Well it took 3 treatments over the course of 3 weeks," he replied.
During that same February visit, inspectors found 24 critical violations.
Some of the issues included ricotta cheese not date marked so employees may not know how old it was before serving to customers, fresh baked bread not protected from contamination, and holes in the wall.
"Did you have management turnover or employee turnover? What has been the problem?" asked Ryan.
"Yeah, probably a little of both. But its been corrected now," the manager said.
On November 12, 2010, inspectors discovered more food not date-marked including pastas, meatballs, sauces, and eggplant, as well as mold on caper jars, employees using bare hands on ready-to-eat food, and slime in the ice machine.
During an inspection on September 20, 2010, inspectors issued a stop sale on about 40 pounds of food. That stop sale included 10 pounds of provolone cheese, 8 pounds of genova salami, 10 pounds of prosciutto, and 10 pounds of pork which all had to be thrown out because they were at improper temperatures.
"Was their a problem with your coolers?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah, they're probably was," the manager responded.
And despite the 55 critical violations accumulated over the last year, the manager believes all is well now.
"We're open for business. Everything's been cleaned up," he said.
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