Restaurant Red Alert: Inspector discovers roaches inside gas station grill

12:13 AM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. -- Customers looking for a meal on the run may enjoy Zeko's Express Grill on East Fletcher Avenue in Tampa. While the restaurant may be quick, state health inspectors say it also didn't take long to find seven critical violations on the restaurant's November 28th inspection.

The problems included food stored on the floor; employees not properly washing hands; no soap at the hand sink; 25-30 live roaches between the cash register and dessert display; 15 under and behind the team table; 5 by the hot water heater; and 10 under the reach in cooler.

"Hearing about stuff like that, is that a restaurant you would try?" we asked Sean McCoggle, who works nearby.

"Absolutely not," McCoggle replied, saying he's especially concerned about the hand washing issues.

"Sanitary reasons alone, no soap for employees? Wow. You have to watch for cross contamination. You can't even wash your hands," said McCoggle.

So we wanted to find out what things were like now inside the kitchen. An employee reached a manager by phone who told us he didn't have time to speak with us.

"I'm sorry ... he says he is busy ... he cannot talk," said the employee.

But on our way out the manager apparently had a change of heart, inviting us back to take a look at what really goes on inside this kitchen.

"It's fresh food. Good, clean, and we made everything fresh."

One employee showed off how they make their chicken hoagies. "So, some green peppers, onions, and some fresh chicken, and some provolone cheese," the employee said while working the grill.

Employees say the restaurant is known for its made-to-order food.

"The falafel, the chicken, the gyro, the meat, the burgers ... it's from the scratch," said the employee.

We found plenty of soap at the cook line hand sink, but a second sink in the back was without soap. Management tells us that one belongs to the gas station. As for roaches, we didn't spot a single one on our visit. Management claimed the insects were brought in with some paper products and have now been eliminated.

You can take a look at Zeko's entire inspection history here.

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