Dirty Dining: Restaurant temporarily shut down for roaches in August

Inspectors found evidence of rodents in April

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. - The Safety Harbor Grill is described online from Google's site as having "American classics for breakfast, lunch & dinner dished up in a comfortable diner with a large patio."

But inside that comfortable diner were things crawling around and getting a little too comfortable. The restaurant on Main Street in Safety Harbor was shut down for over 22 hours on Aug. 6 for live roaches crawling near the prep table, reach-in cooler, serving plates and potato salad. State inspectors also saw dead roaches near the prep table and walk-in cooler.

During two days in August, inspectors documented 38 violations total, including a hole in the ceiling, employees failing to wash their hands, food not properly protected from contamination and food not properly dated.

And the state had some other concerns during their previous visit, too. On April 17, inspectors found 50 rodent droppings in the dry storage area of the kitchen. Inspectors also discovered gravy and meatballs at dangerous temperatures, food not date, the dish machine not sanitizing properly and raw animal food over ready-to-eat food with raw fish and beef stored over produce, a cross-contamination issue.

ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan went to Safety Harbor Grill to get some answers. She met two employees who said the manager was not working that day and no one in charge was there.

Ryan followed up and spoke with Manager Bekim Shala on the phone.

Shala claims that during the August inspections, the female inspector was new and recorded violations that were not accurate. Shala explained that he had no roaches, no temperature violations and no other food safety issues. Shala went on to say that he keeps his kitchen as clean as he keeps his home. And he welcomes any customer to see his kitchen, as he has nothing to hide.

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