Dirty Dining: Bearded Clam Waterfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar temporarily closed for rodent activity

SARASOTA, Fla. - Wesley Rose owns restaurants in Georgia and now in the bay area. So he was surprised when a state inspector found rodent activity in his kitchen at the Bearded Clam Waterfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar located on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

He took us behind the kitchen door to prove he has nothing to hide.  And the place looked clean.

But on November 3, 2011 the state temporarily closed the restaurant for two and half hours after discovering over 40 rodent droppings on top of a vinegar bottle, brownie mix box, soda machine, and canned goods.

"Orkin comes in every week and makes sure everything is properly done," Rose said.

And Rose says the rodents were never near any food and showed us the problem area.

"So when they were back here, they rolled out this back warming cooler and that's where they found some evidence of the rodents stuff," Rose admits.

But this wasn't the first time the restaurant had rodents. The Bearded Clam had over 35 rodent droppings on canned goods of fruit and juice and inside boxes of pasta on September 8, 2011. Inspectors also ordered ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of pasta and five pounds of grits tossed out because rodents had chewed through the bags. Rose disagrees with that report.

"There were some old bags of things that had been in a dry goods area that had been sitting there and we said they had not been chewed on by rodents," he said.

The real challenge Rose claims is the old building. His restaurant is inside the Ramada Hotel.

"Your dealing with a hotel like I said that was built in 1959. It sat vacant for almost three years and all of a sudden you come in here and start renovating and tearing things out and things get to running around," Rose admitted.
 
In a nine-month period between February 7, 2011 and November 3, 2011 the state wrote up 52 critical violations including employees not washing their hands, food stored on the floor, and seafood at an improper temperature.

But Rose says after changing out some staff, all has improved.

"I think the proof's in the pudding and if someone wants to come down and take a look at anything here, we have nothing to hide," he said.

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