ST. PETE BEACH, Florida -- Scoops on the Beach, known for its 60 flavors, has been serving up ice cream on Gulf Boulevard for 15 years.
The popular parlor had a squeaky clean reputation until the state uncovered three critical violations on the businesses July 25 inspection. The violations included heavy accumulation of a mold-like substance on the inside of the ice machine, stand up coolers soiled with food residue, and rodent activity -- with 35 old and new droppings found under the front counters and 55 more droppings discovered throughout the kitchen and back office area.
The problems were enough to prompt a one day emergency closure.
"I heard they found rat feces, and rat droppings on the floor," said St. Pete Beach resident Anthony Swanson. "I wouldn't eat there."
Wanting the real scoop on Scoops, we stopped in hoping to find the kitchen cleaned up. The owner did not wish to speak with 10 News on camera, but did take us behind the counter, where we found what appeared to be a very clean and tidy kitchen. The ice machine was totally cleaned out, the employee restroom had soap and paper towels, and there was no evidence of any remaining rodent droppings.
We were even there as an exterminator arrived to continue work, ensuring the rodent problem was taken care of.
"You won't find a cleaner ice cream parlor or any establishment than what you've got right here," said the owner.
The state previously documented as many of 90 droppings throughout the kitchen, but owners of Scoops told 10 News the inspector might have mistaken the droppings for chocolate sprinkles.
The owner also told 10 News over the telephone he believes the upcoming Republican National Convention resulted in a stricter than normal inspection for his business.
As for customers, Swanson says he'll find another place to take his kids for ice cream until Scoops performs well on a series of future health inspections.
"My kids wanted to go there," said Swanson. "I'm glad I didn't let them. I'll go down the street to the other shop."
Take a look at Scoop's July 25th inspection here.
Take a look at Scoop's complete inspection history here.