Dirty Dining: Clearwater Beach restaurant temporarily shut down for live roaches crawling in kitchen

CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. - It's not exactly what you want to see when dining out. But our undercover camera caught a baby roach crawling on a table inside the Beach Fyre BBQ Grille on Mandalay Avenue in Clearwater Beach.    

So ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan went back to the restaurant to talk to the owner.

"If he saw a bug, what am I supposed to say? He saw one bug," said Steve Stagmer, who's owned the place for the last year and was shocked to see our video.

"We're not making this up. This was crawling on his table while he was eating. So do you still feel like this is under control?" asked Ryan.

"I do," Stagmer said.

"So this was just a fluke?" asked Ryan.

"I guess so because I haven't seen anything in the past week or two," he answered.

Stagmer was upset because he had just handled a bug problem Aug. 4 when inspectors temporarily closed Beach Fyre BBQ after seeing 20 live roaches near the toaster, prep table, cooks line, cooler, sink and register.

Stagmer blames his old pest control company, which he says he fired immediately.

"Were you surprised when the state shut you down for business?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah, I've never had that before. I've been in the restaurant business my whole life. I've never had that happen," Stagmer said.
Also during that August inspection, the state found other violations, including sausage and other foods at improper temperatures. Ribs and cooked items not marked with a date so employees may not know how old food was and cutting boards and other kitchen equipment soiled with old food debris.

Ryan went through other violations, reading from the report.

"Can opener had old food debris, handwash sink not accessible to your employees, which again maybe they're not washing their hands?" Ryan asked.

"That's not a big deal. Those are things that happen all the time," he answered.

Over the past year, 92 violations have been documented but Stagmer says he takes action during every inspection.

"These are all corrected on site. Ninety-nine percent of all my violations are corrected on site before she even leaves here," Stagmer explained.

And being in the restaurant business all of his life, Stagmer says he knows what he's doing.

"I know how to run my business. I know how to protect my customers. I know how to serve good food. I know how to store good food. I know how to run a good place," he said.

After leaving the restaurant, Ryan called the pest control company that Stagmer blames the infestation on.

The owner of that pest control company claims Beach Fyre BBQ terminated his services in July. The pest control company says its last spraying was on June 10, two months before the state shut down the restaurant.

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