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The state cleared a burger joint to reopen. But 10News uncovered more rodent droppings when we went inside.

Biff Burger in St. Pete was temporarily shut down by health inspectors February 19 with 27 violations.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For 60 years, the Biff Burger on 49th Street has been serving up loyal fans in. St. Petersburg.

But, some customers complained things have gone downhill at the last remaining Biff Burger.

The state has 16 complaints from customers alleging everything from insects in the Biff Burger kitchen, to employees not washing their hands. 

So, state inspectors showed up last week to check things out. They ordered an emergency closure and temperarily shut down the restaurant with 27 violations.

The violations listed an employee licking their fingers before putting on gloves to work with food, live flies in the back food prep area and rodent activity–with droppings found near where the bread is stored.

The health inspector ordered a stop sale on four bags of that bread after finding they’d been chewed through.

10News stopped in to find out what was going on inside the kitchen.

“We took care of it immediately,” said co-Owner Ray Prezioso.

He insisted he runs a clean kitchen and many of the complaints filed with the state came from former employees or friends of the previous owners.

“It’s out and out sabotage,” said Prezioso.

He downplayed many of the violations listed on the most recent inspections.

When asked about rodents chewing through the bread bags Prezioso said, “I heard something like that. I’m not too sure if that was the case.”

Prezioso agreed to allow our camera into the kitchen, and while we were pleased to find soap and paper towels at the various hand washing sinks, we very quickly started spotting what appeared to be more rodent droppings.  

The droppings were found inside an empty food tray, on top of napkins, around packages of food and on the floor.

“That will be taken care of,” said Prezioso. “We have a pest control company that is working on getting rid of them diligently.”

Prezioso apologized to customers who showed up last week to find the restaurant closed, but is confident they will be back. 

“We have the cleanest environment going and we will continue to do that,” said Prezioso. “We are giving 2-for-1 on some items.”

State records show Biff Burger has also been written up in the past for dumping used cooking oil down a drain leading directly into Joe’s Creek.

You can view Biff Burger’s full inspection history here.

Beau Zimmer is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. You can also email restaurants you want Beau to check out to redalert@wtsp.com 

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