A complaint prompted a state inspector to visit St. Johns Seafood & Steaks last week, which is located 7546 Beach Boulevard on the Southside. While the state has not released what the original complaint was about, it did find 15 violations during the surprise visit.
Of the violations, several of them are considered high priority, including a roach problem. According to the state's report, the inspector found 10 dead roaches on the floor by a prep table and several live roaches were found on and around the food prep area and cooler.
The report goes on to say that when the inspector moved the cooler, 20 live roaches ran out from under it.
Restaurant manager Jim Oxenreider said he wasn't at work during the inspection but did invite Channel 4 into the kitchen to take a look at the changes.
"It was an old seafood cleaning table that was here and we took that table out - we got rid of that table and got a whole brand new table... This is how we do that now, we keep everything on ice with the ice bags," said Oxenreider.
The roach problem was cited as high priority violations so Channel 4 asked Oxenreider when they had their last pest control service.
"We had it done last week," he said.
We asked Oxenreider if that service was before or after the inspection.
He replied, "Before and after."
Oxenreider says the restaurant gets treated for bugs four to five times a month, but said he didn't have the documentation or receipts available from the service to show us. But during our visit we didn't spot any roaches in the kitchen.
"It was an unfortunate sighting, but we saw it and we got it taken care of and we haven't seen anything since," he said.
Another violation noted by the inspector was a mold-like substance inside the ice machine.
"Since then we've had it cleaned out, scrubbed," said Oxenreider. "I think, with the moisture from the ice sometimes it happens."
The restaurant passed a follow-up inspection and Oxenreider says they will continue to offer the same food and service that keeps their customers coming back.
"We have the best seafood in Jacksonville," he said. "Our customers, they know that, you know we always welcome them back, we always take care of them."
Although the follow-up inspection was passed, the restaurant was put under a delinquent status because of an expired license. The restaurant will have to pay a $50 fine if it applies for renewal within 30 days.