Dirty Dining: Sloppy Pelican repeat offender with 60 new critical violations

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - As boats sail by over sparkling waters, and pelicans prop up on perches, customers enjoy the view outside The Sloppy Pelican Restaurant on 75th Avenue in St Pete Beach.

Lauren Parks and Esther Anderson are two of those customers.  "I had the coconut-crusted Mahi," said Esther.

"I had the seafood Alfredo," Lauren said.  "It was really good, I thought."

But conditions in Sloppy Pelican's kitchen have been a little sloppy.

In March, inspectors ordered the restaurant to throw out 40 pounds of chicken wings because they were improperly cooled and at dangerous temperatures.  They also found batter, margarine, fish, ribs, and chicken all stored above 41 degrees which could make customers sick.

"So it's concerning?" Ryan asked the customers.

"Oh yeah, it makes me want to eat at home more," Lauren said.

And this restaurant is a repeat offender when it comes to keeping the kitchen up to code.

Almost two years ago, we spoke to Ben, Sloppy Pelican's manager on duty after inspectors shut down the place for rats and rodent droppings in the kitchen.

"I'd have to talk to them.  Like I said, I wasn't here." Ben said.

"So you know nothing about this?" Ryan asked.

"I just got back," Ben said.

So we were surprised to see 60 new critical violations accumulated over the last 13 months including another stop sale last year of 13 pounds worth of hamburger meat, chicken and seafood because of improper temperatures.

And most recently, inspectors found no hot water, employees not washing their hands and no proof of required employee training.

Lauren believes the kitchen conditions should be maintained by the owner not the state.
 
"The restaurant itself should be responsible. We don't need government to come in here and go to all of these restaurants and say 'hey guys, you're not doing it right.'  I think the restaurant should be accountable to keeping its customers safe," Lauren added.

So we went back to see what restaurant management had to say this time.

"Please turn that off," said an employee.

"Is there a manager we can talk to?" Ryan asked.

"I'm the manager and I'm asking you to leave nicely," that same employee said, but refused to give us her name.

So Ryan and her photographer left.

After that visit, we called Sloppy Pelican, but management had no comment.

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