Dirty Dining: Acropolis Greek Taverna temporarily closes with 100 live & dead roaches in the kitchen

Posted at 11:00 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 02:16:50-04

Opa! It's what they say when you walk into many Greek restaurants to welcome you into a dinner celebration of belly dancing, plate breaking, napkin throwing and live music.

But there was no celebrating going on in historic Ybor City's entertainment district last week at Acropolis Greek Taverna at 1833 East 7th Avenue.

Our ABC Action News I-Team uncovered that on October 19, the popular Greek restaurant had over 100 live and dead roaches on the cook line, prep area, near the server tray racks, shelving, under reach in coolers, behind the ice machine, under the dish machine, under reach in freezer, on the Gyro broiler table, and bar.

The state shut down the restaurant overnight until October 20.

Inspectors also discovered roach excrement and/or droppings on the walls.

According to the inspection report, the exterior door has a gap at the threshold that opens to the outside which was a repeat violation and a possible way pests could be getting into the restaurant.

The state also discovered a hole in the wall or other damage as plastic is separating from the wall.

In addition, inspectors documented food at dangerous temperatures that could make you sick with Gyro meat in a broiler that was turned off. And cold food not held cold enough in the coolers.

The state found stuffed grape leaves at 49°f, cheese at 53°f, raw chicken at 41-54°f, Tirosalata at 49°f, and red pepper hummus at 53°f.

The temperature violations were a repeat issue so inspectors issued an Administrative Complaint against Acropolis.

During the last inspection in June, inspectors found shredded cheese at 48°f, cheese at 47°f, raw chicken at 48-49°f, raw chicken at 45°f, raw shrimp at 49°f, Greek lasagna at 53°f, cooked rice at 46°f, Feta cheese at 46°f, Tzatziki at 44°f, and potato salad at 46°f . All cold food should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Also hot food was not at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above last week with cooked vegetables at 112°f.

Other violations written up on October 19 include an accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine, the ice bucket/shovel stored on the floor, and a stop sale on Marinara cans because they were dented or rusted.

Inspectors also saw employees failing to wash their hands, the hand wash sink not accessible for employees to use as it was blocked by a garbage can near the cook's line and no paper towels were provided at the hand wash sink.

Acropolis's owner, Costa Waez told ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan over the phone that as soon as the inspector found the roaches, he had nine employees of a sanitation company and pest control company come to take care of the issue and clean the entire restaurant.

Waez also said that he has a pest control company spray weekly but he blames the roach problem on the city, as they've done nothing to help treat the sewage issue in Ybor City.

He told Ryan he's complained to the city many times as they are responsible because he can't control the roaches from coming into his restaurant.

Waez said he bought a new cooler after finding out about the food temperature problem and wants customers to know his restaurant is clean and everything is back in order.

He also says Acropolis is located in a 130 year old building so maintenance is always an issue.