ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - Monique LaRocque gets her haircut a few doors down from the Salty Rim Grill Restaurant on Blind Pass Road in St. Petersburg and knew nothing about health code violations so close by.
"They were shut down Friday night for roaches and rodents," ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan told her.
"Ugh! That's terrible. It's disappointing because this is a beautiful area," Monique responded.
Inspectors closed Salty Rim's doors for over 24 hours on November 22 after finding 50 rodent droppings inside a premium cracker box and other gnawed material nearby.
And during that same visit, inspectors saw more unwanted guests, including over 75 live roaches near the cooks line, dry storage area, sink and dish machine along with dead bugs in the light shield above the cooks line and flying insects in the bar area.
When Ryan visited the eatery, she met a female worker who said she was new along with many other employees.
She also mentioned the manager and owner were not around but they all stepped up when the closure happened. "Every single employee that works here put their hands together and got it where it needed to be," the employee explained.
Food temperature violations have also been an issue here. Last month, yellow rice, beer batter, shrimp, pasta, tomatoes, and butter were all at improper temperature levels.
In May, a stop sale was issued after finding steak, lobster, salsa, pasta and vegetables at dangerous temperatures in the cooler.
And in January, several dairy products along with pork, shrimp, chicken, raw fish, and bong bong sauce all had to be thrown out because of temperatures that could make customers sick.
But the new female employee says things have changed. "We have a new chef, a new GM, we've completely cleaned house. There's new employees. Everything's been redone," she said.
Still, Monique is hesitant.
"I tell you right now, I'm not going over there until they clean up their act. They have a nice position on the water. They should really take care of that, you know?" Monique said.
SALTY RIM GRILL STATEMENT:
"The health and safety of our guests and associates is our highest priority. Following the November inspection, we retained a new pest control company. Additionally, we have implemented new procedures that have addressed and resolved the issues.
Salty Rim Grill Owner