Dirty Dining: 24 hour eatery faces $1,000 in disciplinary fines for food safety violations

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Aaron Hellerude lives down the road from the Egg Platter Restaurant on US Highway 19 North in Pinellas Park and has eaten there plenty of times.

"What have you ordered before? What do you like?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.

"The burgers, Phili cheese steaks," Aaron said.

But Aaron did not know the 24 hour eatery faced $1,000 in disciplinary fines recently due to food safety violations.

On September 30, inspectors forced the Egg Platter to throw out 15 lbs. of cooked potatoes because they were improperly cooled and at dangerous temperatures. That day, sausage, hash, and eggs were also at temperatures that could make customers sick.

Another customer we met outside, Ashley Graham, seemed concerned after she says her last meal at Egg Platter was not hot enough.

"Their French toast was cold, I don't like that so maybe that's a temperature issue," she explained, "it makes me not want to eat there."

And the temperature issue is a repeat issue. In May of this year sausage, eggs, and dairy products including cheese, milk, and creamer were all at hazardous levels.

And more temperature violations were documented before that with the state fining the eatery over $5,150 in the last six years.

So Ryan went inside to get some answers.

"Can I speak to a manager or the owner or whoever is in charge?" asked Ryan, as she walked in the front door.

"They just left," a female employee answered and went on to say she's been with the restaurant for 17 years.

"Is anyone in charge?" Ryan asked.

"No," the employee responded.

And the employee would not comment on the recent inspection reports.

But in those reports from May 22 through October 1, 2013 the state discovered employees not washing their hands, touching ready to eat foods with their barehands, a live roach on the shelf in the storage area and potentially hazardous food held more than 24 hours and not date marked after opening.

Aaron now has some serious concerns.

"Maybe I won't eat here anymore I guess," Aaron said.

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