Upscale organic restaurant in St. Augustine closed for night when inspectors found live roaches

Owner of Casa Maya describes his plan to get rid of the bugs

By Melanie Lawson - The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - Casa Maya, in the heart of St. Augustine, is one of the newer buildings in the historic district.  It serves organic gourmet ethnic food six days a week.  But last week the owner had to shut down for a few hours after a state inspector found roaches in a dishwashing and storage room.

"They find them in the dish pit and in the storage which has nothing to do with the rest of restaurant, ya know," says Marco Barrera.

Barrera owns the restaurant and he's talking about the nearly 40 roaches inspectors found.  The storage and dishwasher building is separate from the restaurant and a week after the restaurant re-opened it's empty.

Casa Maya is closed only one day a week and even though they were able to re-open, Barrera said they took this very seriously.  They brought in the pest control company and took everything out of this storage facility so they could go in and deep clean and make sure the roach problem was fixed.

"Because one day we need a day for this kind of job. You know painting and deep cleaning and pest control is coming so this is the one day we close, every week," says Barrera

All of the food and equipment is outside while they clean from top to bottom.  Barrera makes it clear the roaches where never near any food.

He also took us outside the gate of the restaurant to a trash bin where all the area restaurants dump their boxes.  He thinks this is the root of the problem.

"This is really the place where the food trash is coming from. You see all the different companies storage," says Barrera.

He said he sees roaches scrambling around the trash bin at night. Barrera said he went to the city and asked if the trash bin could be moved away from his restaurant. He's still waiting on a response.

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