ST. PETERSBURG — A state inspector closed down the Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg Monday, citing the restaurant for a raft of violations ranging from failure to provide safe temperature controls on its meat to more than two dozen live roaches found along the cook's line.
An orange sign with the word CLOSED in big black letters was posted on the door of the 10 Beach Drive restaurant, which is part of a chain with locations in Tampa, Clearwater, Orlando, Sarasota and Delray.
The temperature problems had been noticed before, according to a spokeswoman for the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
"Our inspector was there to perform a callback inspection for previous temperature violations," said Sandi Copes Poreda, the agency spokeswoman. "The roaches were discovered during the callback inspection."
The inspector found coolers that were holding food at temperatures above 41 degrees, which is considered unsafe. Among too-warm food noted in the inspection report: salmon at 47 degrees, cooked shrimp at 47 degrees, cooked duck at 57 degrees and calamari at 55 degrees.
The inspector also found beef thawing in standing water, an employee who wasn't washing hands and, most dramatically, "over 25 live roaches down back of cooks line above water filter. 1 live roach in lowboy drawer on cooks line. 1 live roach on wall beside handwash sink beside salad station."
A restaurant that has been closed for flunking an inspection can request a re-inspection within 24 hours, Poreda said, and "if the violations that posed the immediate threat to the public have been corrected, the order will be vacated and the establishment allowed to reopen."
A man who answered the phone at the restaurant early in the afternoon said it was closed because of a sewage problem and promised it would reopen Tuesday. Later calls by the Times went unanswered.