TAMPA, Fla.- This week, a trio of troubled restaurants are the focus of our Restaurant Red Alert.
We begin on Waters Avenue in Tampa at Bruno's Pizza #2. On May 22, a state inspector went in documenting seven critical violations, including cheese on the counter at 57 degrees, an employee with no hair restraint, and live roaches in various stages of life. Five were found on and around the pizza station, more than 20 were found in the food prep area, and five were crawling across the pizza pans.
"We had construction going on, we had roofing being done, we had electrical going on, we had so many things going on at once. The building was wide open. He said 'You gotta get that done first' and that was the end of it," said the owner of Bruno's, who refused to give us his name.
We asked if we could take a look inside his restaurant.
"I'm trying to do five things at once... it's a bad time right now," he explained.
According to state reports, the roaches were not an isolated incident. We found inspection reports from both April and February of last year with more than 40 roaches found by state inspectors.
The next stop was Cyber Takee Outee on West Hillsborough Avenue. The Chinese take-out hot spot was voted #1 by Westchase News Magazine, but racked up five critical violations May 14. The inspector documented 20-25 live roaches between the cutting boards and three live roaches coming out of the meat grinder.
We stopped in to take a look.
"Ahh... my boss is not here... I have to ask... he come back and let you do anything," said an employee behind the counter.
Management later sent us this statement:
"After correction to an oversight on the part of the pest control company, the health inspector gave immediate approval the following morning, so there are no serious problems. There is little left to the imagination as Hillsborough County health inspections are very thorough and food vendors are absolutely not allowed to operate if there is any threat to public health."
But after just a few minutes inside, we spotted a dead bug right behind the front counter. Cyber Takee Outee did not allow us to inspect the kitchen.
The final restaurant of the week is Peggy O'Neill's Irish Pub and Eatery in Palm Harbor. It was temporarily shut down by the state for seven critical violations, including more live roaches in the to-go service station area, under the dish washing machine, and near the steam table.
Management blamed the problem on the age of their building. They say the roach problem is now corrected and invited us back to inspect the place at a later date.
Outrageous Restaurant Red Alert reports:
Band Aid Soup: Customer served soup - with a band aid in it!
Terrible 10: 10 Tampa Bay restaurants with the WORST critical violations
Ceiling Roaches: McDonalds cited when roach falls from ceiling onto diner's food
Finger in salad: Pizza customer claims there was a fingertip in his salad
Baked Roaches: Roaches found baked into Pizza Supreme
More Restaurant Red Alert Reports:
Classic Homestyle Buffet, Tampa 1/11/12
Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12
Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12
CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12
China Express, Brandon 2/8/12
Daiquiri Deck, Maderia Beach 2/15/12
Athenian Garden, Tyrone Area, St. Pete 2/22/12
Bob Evans (Ulmerton Road), Pho 97 (Pinellas Park), Kobe Japanese Steak House (New Tampa) 2/29/12
China Jade, Carrollwood, 3/7/12
Nicki's West 59th (Bradenton), Top's China Buffet (Brandon), 400 Beach (St. Petersburg) 3/14/12
Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille (Ybor City) 3/21/12
Sandy's Restaurant, Indian Rocks Beach 3/28/12