Local Little Caesars restaurant shut down over roaches, sauce temperatures

A Belleview pizza restaurant was shut down last week after a health inspector found 11 violations – six of which were classified as high or intermediate priority.

Little Caesars, located at 10135 SE U.S. Hwy. 441 in the Belleview Commons Shopping Center, was temporarily closed this past Thursday after an inspector reported live roaches and excrement in the restaurant, according to a report on file with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The Little Caesars pizza restaurant at 10135 SE U.S. Hwy. 441 in Belleview was closed last Thursday after a health inspector found 11 violations inside the facility. The restaurant, located in the Belleview Commons Shopping Center, reopened Saturday after the inspector returned four times to follow up on the violations.

Twenty live roaches were found on a wall behind three sinks – an employee killed five while the inspector was on-site – and others were found inside a paper towel dispenser, under a pizza oven and on the floor under a hand wash sink at a front station, the report says, adding that roach excrement also was found under hand sinks and a fountain.

Two other high-priority violations and one intermediate infraction centered around potentially hazardous food that wasn’t cooled from ambient temperature to 41 degrees within four hours. The inspector issued a stop-sale order after finding pizza sauce in a walk-in cooler that was made Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 at 47 and 48 degrees, respectively. It also was noted that the containers were “too deep,” they were covered while the sauce was cooling and there was condensation on the lids.

Another intermediate violation was issued for a non-working paper towel dispenser at a three-compartment sink, the report says.

All told, the inspector cited five basic violations, the most serious of which centered around 36 dead roaches found in a variety of places, from the three-compartment sink area to a dry storage shelf to the floor between a walk-in cooler and reach-in freezer and under a nearby prep table to under a fountain and pizza oven.

Two basic violations were levied for employees having personal items around the food and prep area. One involved open beverages on a food preparation table and another centered on an electronic cigarette that was sitting on top of pizza boxes – a repeat violation.

The other basic violations were issued for gaskets inside a reach-in cooler that had a “slimy/mold-like buildup” and floor and wall junctures not covered under a prep table next to a pizza reach-in cooler.

The inspector returned to the pizza chain restaurant twice the following day. After the first visit, eight violations still needed to be corrected and the restaurant remained closed. Those included the two high-priority violations regarding food temperatures and the live roach issue.

A second visit by the inspector Friday found one violation remaining involving the live roaches. The restaurant remained close and the inspector returned twice Saturday. On the second visit, the inspector noted that all violations had been taken care of and the restaurant reopened for business.