SARASOTA, Florida - It's a local café packed every morning and afternoon for breakfast and lunch. But news is spreading fast about the "Word of Mouth" restaurant on South Osprey Avenue in Sarasota.
The restaurant was the target of a surprise inspection after a series of public complaints alleged big problems going on inside the kitchen.
When you first walk inside, however, you'll find a cozy dining room, a great place to sit down for a cup of coffee or some breakfast.
"They make incredibly good blueberry pancakes," said customer Jackie Murphy.
"I just went there for soup today," said another customer named Carol Thompson. "They have great homemade muffins and soups and sandwiches. It's just like a little neighborhood restaurant."
But this neighborhood restaurant apparently had some big problems. Two separate complaints filed with the state alleged a roach infestation and "roaches everywhere."
Photos: Sarasota cafe infested with roaches!
A state inspector paid the restaurant a visit July 16th documenting 15 violations.
Among the issues, an employee was observed touching ready to eat food with their bare hands. There were temperature violations on the rice, egg batter, raw beef, Greek yogurt, pork turkey, and eggs.
The inspector also couldn't find any soap or paper towels at an employee hand sink, but they did find roaches- including live ones crawling across the meat slicer and food prep counter.
"I'm shocked... I'm disappointed," said Thompson.
"I'm a nurse for one thing. Roaches carry things. I don't want that bug on my food," said Murphy.
We stopped in to see how things looked after the bad inspection.
"I'd rather not talk about it," said a manager who did not care to discuss the previous state report or what had been done to fix any issues.
The manager quickly asked us to turn off our camera, and while he did tell us the restaurant did much better on its follow up inspection, he had no interest in allowing our camera back into the kitchen.
The state also cited this restaurant for not having a certified food service manager on duty and no proof of employee training. The manager told 10 News he is certified, but was out of town the day of the inspection and that other employees are now getting the required training.
And while we didn't get a look back in the kitchen, customers are hopeful things will improve.
"I will be back," said Murphy.
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