Dirty Dining: Pests or other problems affect some South Florida restaurants

Barbie's Place (935 Fosteria Drive) in Lake Park is buzzing with customers an hour before lunchtime. We weren't stopping for lunch. It's our second visit to the diner in the last three years.

"Yeah, I have roaches. They are under control. Basically they are all dead. I have a great company now. I fired the other company," explained chef Todd Bertram.

It's not just roaches. The inspection report shows repeat issues with grease, mold, and black debris on the wall.

"It you take a look at my kitchen my kitchen is sparkling," Bertram said.

"I don't know if I'd go with sparkling," NewsChannel 5 Consumer Watchdog Jenn Strathman said.

The inspector noted floor tiles cracked, broken or in disrepair throughout the kitchen. Grease on the floor, a cutting board that can no longer be cleaned, and mold in the ice machine.

Bertram said he argued with the inspector on much of what was in the report.

The inspector is getting quite familiar with Barbie's Place, having visited five times in the last month.

"The state found I have a refrigerator problem. My hood died on me yesterday. You know when it rains it pours," explained Bertram. "Health department came in right after. When it rained it poured. I got s*** on. Sorry for the language. The real reality is I had a terrible day."

It's not the first time foul language was flying.

"I was trying to legally get rid of the b****," Bertram's brother Richard told us in August 2013. "I'm not a bug man. I'm a cook. That's what I do. I hired a professional to handle my problem. End of story."

With the story focused on Barbie's once again, will this be the last time?

"I apologize to my customers. I have a good crew. We work hard. A freaking roach. I got s*** on. I don't know what else to say. We really try hard," Bertram said.

Wellington Mall food court

The Dirty Dining team is back to the Wellington Mall food court. This time at Pholicious. It's a stand-alone noodle shop across from the pizza shop closed down for roaches twice last fall.

The restaurant had to clean up its pest problem and throw away food and cooked rice noodles that were the wrong temperature.

On the subsequent visit, no violations were found.

Nobody from the restaurant or the mall has responded to our requests for comment.

Boston Market

In Boca Raton, Boston Market #192 (9957 W. Glades Road) closed for a short time to clean up roaches. Live roaches were crawling around on the floor, and in dry storage.

The restaurant also had to throw away milk that was the wrong temperature.

In a statement, the company told us "Boston Market has high standards regarding its operations and the cleanliness of its restaurants.  The violations identified in the inspection report of our restaurant in Shadowood Square were extremely disappointing, and upon learning of the report, Boston Market immediately located the source of the issues and remedied the matter.  A follow up inspection by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation that was conducted the next day confirmed that all areas of opportunity were properly addressed and no violations were observed.

After investigation, the Company believes this was an isolated matter. However, we have implemented refresher operational and cleanliness training in the market to ensure that there are no further issues in this regard."

Pelican Cafe

"I have a lot of attention to detail. I'm an ex-Navy guy," explained Pelican Cafe (612 US 1) of Lake Park owner Mark Frangione.

He said during a construction project, crews hit a pipe. They didn't know until they spotted water damage.

"A broken pipe brought in some bugs. We brought pest control in immediately, and the plumbers," Frangione explained.

The roaches were found on a slicer, the slicer table, on the floor, and one live one on the cook line.

"It was an eye opener," Frangione said.

With the pipe fixed, and the addition complete Frangione is back in the kitchen making Grandma's recipes.

Golden Pacco

The Golden Pacco Restaurant and Bakery (401 SW Dr. MLK Jr Blvd) in Belle Glade was closed for a short time after an inspector found roaches behind the reach-in freezer, floor prep area, and potato storage,

The kitchen also had basic maintenance issues like a hole in the wall, dirty floor, and greasy walls.

The restaurant said it fired its old pest control company, and has a new one that's doing a better job.

They did not expect the closure, and are cleaning up.

Banyan Tree

In Belle Glade, Banyan Tree (1525 NW Ave. L) closed temporarily for roaches. More than 20 live and 20 dead roaches were found in the kitchen.

Violations were also found for overall cleanliness of the floor, ceiling, shelving, and walls.

The restaurant did not respond to our requests for comment.

Food truck and stand closed

Tocas La Benedicion (4901 Broadway) is a West Palm Beach food truck that was ordered closed for no running water. The mobile food truck also had an expired license and had to throw away food that was the wrong temperature. We were unable to locate the food truck at the specified location.

Authentic Mexican Tamales

The state also shut down a tamale stand at the Palm Beach Outlets Green Market for not having a license. The owner of Authentic Mexican Tamales said they were told they did not need a license, and that later changed.

All restaurants temporarily closed, are now back open.

To see what inspectors found in your favorite kitchen, search our database provided by our news partners at the TCPalm.com.

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