LARGO, Fla. - Cars clean up quickly at Caribbean Car Wash in Largo and owner Pat Enigan works hard to keep it that way.
"I had three Shell Stations so I've always been in the repair business," Pat said.
So when Pat needs a break, he walks next door to Rocky's Neighborhood Diner on Walsingham Road.
"The food was great. I've had breakfast there. I've had lunch there," Pat commented.
But Pat knew nothing about three stop sales in the restaurant's last three full inspections where the state forced Rocky's to throw out food at dangerous temperatures.
On January 26, 2012, Rocky's had to toss 14 pounds of beef, meatballs, pasta, gravy and soup because they were improperly cooled and above 41 degrees, according to the state's inspection report.
And it wasn't the first time food had to be discarded. On September 15, 2011, feta cheese, lasagna, and pasta had to be thrown out because of dangerously warm temperatures. And on March 2, 2011, eight gallons of gravy had to be tossed because of its improper temperature.
So we went inside to see if the restaurant was up to code.
Owner Tony Houvardas did not want to comment on camera but did say the temperature issues have been corrected.
However, problems with the state didn't end there. On January 26, 2012, inspectors found food stored on the floor, food not date-marked, bare hand contact on ready-to-eat foods, no certified food manager on duty and no proof employees had proper training.
Rocky's tallied up 75 critical violations in eleven months with four follow-up inspections required.
But that doesn't bother Pat. He believes the owner is on it.
"I would have a lot of confidence in Tony taking care of any problems he has and straightening it out. And I'd continue to eat there," Pat said.
I spoke with Tony over the phone Monday night and he explained that he has been in the restaurant business all his life, he's a third generation restaurateur, and he's never had inspection reports like this before.
Tony also says the inspection report is misleading and the food was properly cooled in the allotted time. He is constantly re-training his employees and hoses down the kitchen at least once a week.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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