JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two restaurants were forced to temporarily shut down after inspectors found roaches at each place.
Tunis Wings and Subs on University Boulevard in Jacksonville's Sans Souci neighborhood was shut down for the night on Oct. 23. Three high-priority violations were cited after an inspector found dozens of live roaches in the kitchen.
The inspector said more than a dozen dead roaches were found on top of the hot water heater and the cooler. Also, there were live flies in the kitchen and food preparation area. The inspector noted this was a repeat violation.
The manager, Mohammed, told News4Jax that he's taking the blame, saying the pests crawled in during a shipment drop-off when he accidentally left the back door open for too long.
Pest control arrived after the restaurant was shut down. The inspector came back the next day and allowed the restaurant to reopen about noon.
The Courtyard Cafe on West Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville faced its first closure since opening five years ago. The restaurant was closed for a day last week to battle live pests and roach droppings.
Seven high-priority violations were reported. An inspector said the majority of the droppings were found underneath the shelves of the front counter, and live roaches were found in the baseboards near the cooler and the kitchen sink.
The manager, Francisco Rojas, took News4Jax inside the kitchen. He said he's on a mission to make sure his first restaurant closure will be his last.
As part of his plan to keep the roaches away, Rojas said, they've ripped out the baseboards and thrown them away.
He also called an exterminator and asked for an increase in pest control.
"They came last week. They're going to come this week and they're going to come every other week until the inspector comes in again," Rojas said. "After that, it's going to be monthly."
The inspector also noted that food was stored at the wrong temperature. A repairman was called to fix a problem with the refrigerator.
During a follow-up inspection the next day, Courtyard Cafe got the green light to reopen with zero high-priority violations.
After a long night of cleaning and scrubbing, Rojas and his uncle are proud that their popular lunch spot is open again. On one side of the Courtyard Cafe, customers will find burritos and, on the other side, pizza. Both sides are working hard to keep customers happy.