MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. - Joe Kohlase moved to Florida from Germany to open a tattoo business just a few feet down from Daiquiri Deck Ocean Side Bar and Grill at 14995 Gulf Blvd in Madeira Beach.
"It's a very nice place, very friendly people, good burgers," Joe said.
But Joe didn't know the Daiquiri Deck was closed for over three hours on February 1, 2012 after an inspector found "too many live roaches to count" on the prep table and more live roaches on a shelf, in an ice cream freezer, and inside a case of taco shells, which had to be thrown out.
"Do you have a concern being right next door with that kind of issue?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.
"Well, I know the regulations are very strong over here," Joe responded.
So Ryan went into the restaurant to see if the violations have been fixed and spoke with Dave Whimpey, the assistant manager at Daiquiri Deck.
Whimpey says the roach problem came from dozens of old boxes that were moved from an attic into the kitchen and showed Ryan the area in the kitchen where the problem was.
More: See the entire response from Daiquiri Deck below
"The moment the health inspector said, 'Hey, I don't like this back here,' we took them out back," Whimpey said.
"So you think the roaches came from those boxes?" Ryan asked.
"It's a very good possibility because we've never had a concern before," Whimpey explained.
But the inspector also found rodent droppings in five packages of instant potatoes, ordering a stop sale on all of it.
And other critical violations included unsafe temperatures on dairy products and inside the walk-in cooler and raw oysters stored over ready to eat foods, a cross contamination issue.
"The items that needed to be disposed of were disposed of, and others were rotated to a different walk-in the inspector had already approved," Whimpey explained.
But other temperature issues were documented on September 21, 2011, too, with cheese, other dairy products and fresh clams at 53 degrees and a beer cooler not maintaining the proper temperature.
But he says those problems are in the past.
"So you don't think it will happen again?" Ryan asked.
"Absolutely not," Whimpey responded.
And they can count on Joe to be a repeat customer. "I'll be back again!"
Entire response from Daiquiri Deck:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me to follow up on your visit to The Deck concerning our unacceptable health inspection that took place on February 1 st. As we discussed today on the phone, the cleanliness or our facility and our obligation to our guests to maintain the strictest cleanliness and operating standards is extremely important to myself and our team. We follow all health regulations as well as regularly double and triple check all of our operating procedures and standards to see if they need to be adjusted. We dropped the ball on this one. The inspection last week is not an accurate snapshot of our operating standards. As you can imagine I am disappointed, embarrassed and frustrated by the inspection. We take full responsibility for the poor review and have fixed issues within 90 minutes of meeting with our health inspector.
Unfortunately we were doing some "spring cleaning" by hiring a company to do onsite records shredding of over 50 boxes of old financial records, 6 years worth, that had been in storage that we brought into the kitchen without considering how bringing those old boxes into the building could affect the operation. The boxes were removed immediately as was a thorough cleaning of the entire kitchen (within 90 minutes) to make sure we were back to our normal operating standards. I hope your visit through our kitchen today assured you of this. Our exterminator was on site within 60 minutes of the inspector arriving and has returned 4 times since February 1 st to follow up.
The refrigeration issue has been addressed and will be monitored through hourly temp checks and daily checklists. We have also rearranged the location of some of the more critical food items that were in question so that we will never have any food items anywhere near unacceptable temperatures. I have contacted our food vendor that delivered an item mistakenly to us that was tainted to make sure that they were aware and could protect against the situation happening again with us or any other of their accounts.
Our inspections over the last 10 years will show a positive track record of the cleanliness of our entire facility and we will continue to be diligent in making sure this accident does not happen again.
I can assure you our entire team is focused intensely on delivering a safe, quality product to our guests.
You or anybody else is always welcome to take a tour of our kitchen and all areas of our business.
Thank you for your time.
Jeremy W. Runo