Friday, January 19, 2018
Public safety

Brocato's Sandwich Shop in Tampa cited for more than 200 health violations

TAMPA — The Brocato's Sandwich Shop menu boasts award-winning devil crabs, thick sandwiches and party platters.

But on Wednesday, it wasn't the food making it famous.

State records show the restaurant at 5021 E Columbus Drive has been cited for nearly 230 health and safety violations over the past year.

Among the issues that caught the inspectors' attention: black and green mold growing inside the ice machine; chunks of food in "clean" silverware; and chicken, crab meat, butter and cheese left at temperatures that could make customers sick.

The news was trending on social media.

Owner Michael Brocato said many of the problems had been already addressed. He insisted the 68-year-old family-owned restaurant is clean.

"We're not a dirty business and we don't do dirty dining," Brocato said. "I know health inspectors are doing their jobs and I applaud that. But a lot of these are administrative complaints."

State health inspectors visited the Tampa restaurant at least nine times in 2015, records show. During one visit in October, they documented nearly 40 violations.

Although some violations were minor — a cracked floor tile, a dusty fan cover — others were more serious. On a few occasions, the inspectors wrote, employees didn't wash their hands before preparing food, or they touched dirty surfaces and didn't immediately wash their hands.

The violations continued: No soap in the bathroom. No employee hand-washing signs. Can openers encrusted with food.

Brocato said his restaurant is a small mom-and-pop outfit that has had to make improvements to keep up with changing state codes.

On Wednesday, a few of his catering jobs were canceled, he said. But he reached out to longtime customers with the following message: "Come see me and I'll walk you through the kitchen and the freezer and everything hand in hand."

He added: "I've been doing this for too many years to be anything but open. It's not a dirty restaurant and I have nothing to hide."

Contact Hanna Marcus at [email protected] or (727) 893-8603. Follow @hannaemarcus.

Comments
Former youth football president accused of stealing $29,000 from Pinellas league

Former youth football president accused of stealing $29,000 from Pinellas league

PALM HARBOR — The former president of a local youth football league is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the group and using it in part to buy a mobile home.According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, deputies on Tuesday arrested L...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Autopsy: MLB star Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma, drowning

Autopsy: MLB star Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma, drowning

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma with drowning as a contributing factor when he crashed his personal plane into the water off New Port Richey in November, according to an autopsy report released Friday.Ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

FORT LAUDERDALE — Rapper Kodak Black has been ordered held without bail in Florida on seven felony charges that include child neglect and drug possession.The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dieuson Octave,...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cell phones and cell phone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wedn...
Updated: 6 hours ago
DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-through for Taco Bell

DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-through for Taco Bell

SPRING HILL — A 38-year-old Tampa man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of driving under the influence involving drugs or alcohol after deputies said he mistook a Bank of America drive-through for a Taco Bell.The branch manager of the Mariner Boulev...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

ST. PETERSBURG — One after another, speakers stepped to the lectern at City Hall on Thursday and described the same image: police cruisers on every corner in Midtown, uniformed officers lined up across the roadway, souring what should have been a joy...
Published: 01/18/18
Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

PORT RICHEY — Loretta Santini was one of a small group of customers boarding a Tropical Breeze Casino shuttle Thursday afternoon as the company sailed for the first day since another of its shuttle boats burned to the water Sunday, killing one woman....
Published: 01/18/18
Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Clearwater Police are searching for a "man-bun bandit" who is seen stealing packages from a residence.Police on Thursday tweeted this video of the suspect, who is seen attempting to balance multiple packages while gathering them at a home on Majestic...
Published: 01/18/18
Captain of casino boat that caught fire says he’s no hero

Captain of casino boat that caught fire says he’s no hero

The captain of a casino boat shuttle that caught fire over the weekend in Port Richey says he’s no hero, despite quickly running his boat aground so that 49 passengers on the vessel could escape.One of those passengers, Carrie Dempsey, a 42-year-old ...
Published: 01/18/18

Two treated at hospital after fire at Apollo Beach home

Two elderly residents were treated at a local hospital after a fire at an Apollo Beach home early Thursday morning.Hillsborough Fire Rescue crews, responding to the 600 block of Flamingo Drive around 4 a.m., found the home fully engulfed in flames.Tw...
Published: 01/18/18