Dirty Dining: Mexican restaurant left food out all night and had roaches crawling in the kitchen

LARGO, Fla. - For Tracey Back, Los Mariachis Restaurant on Ulmerton Road in Largo is place to get a nice margarita after a hard day of work.

"I like this place because it seems like a real, authentic Mexican restaurant," Tracey said.

But not so authentic is what inspectors uncovered inside the kitchen.

"They've had to throw out quite of bit of food that wasn't at the right temperatures. They left empanadas out all night on the counter," explained ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan as she showed Tracey the inspection reports.

"You're kidding?" Tracey said.

But inspectors were not kidding at all.  

On June 4, the state made Los Mariachis throw out a tray of empanadas after being improperly cooled and sitting out all night long.

So Ryan went inside the restaurant to see if conditions had improved.

"Are you the manager?" Ryan asked an employee at the front.

"Yes," she responded, but the employee did not want to give us her name.

"I don't have authority. I'm just a manager, and I don't have authority," the female manager said.

But the state had the authority to inspect, discovering a live palmetto roach and roach droppings in the dining room and bar area during that June visit.

This after just being warned a few weeks before on May 12 for roach and rodent activity, leading the state to close the restaurant's doors for 24 hours.

"You guys were shut down last month?" Ryan asked.

"You're absolutely right," the manager responded.

And during that May visit, the restaurant had to throw out tamales, chili, beef, cooked peppers, shredded cheese, chili sauce, and whipped cream kept at dangerous temperatures that could make customers sick.

"Is there an owner I can speak with?" Ryan asked.

"He isn't in right now," the manager responded.

But Tracy doesn't care what any of the inspections say. She will be back.

"Hearing about this, I might be a little more cautious, but I still love this place," she said.

Ryan did try to contact the owner, Ray Roman, for comment, but he never returned our calls.

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