LARGO, Fla. — A small crowd of regulars gathered for lunch Wednesday inside Sharks Bar and Grille on Belcher Road in Largo.
But many of the customers might not know their regular hangout was temporarily shut down by state health inspectors just last week.
Sharks racked up 26 violations. The inspector reported the kitchen’s back door was left wide open with small flying insects observed near the food prep area landing on packs of bread and on the food cart.
The inspector also reported witnessing an employee mopping the floor then putting on gloves to work with food without first washing their hands. There was a back/green mold-like substance inside the ice machine, according to the report, and rodent droppings found on a shelf above the freezer.
“She came in and she found some violations,” said Sharks manager Vito Randisi, who said every issue has since been addressed.
“We went down the issues that were written up for and even though they’re basic, they’re important for everyday operations,” said Randisi, who had no problem opening up his kitchen for our inspection.
Inside, we found the handwashing sink stocked up with both soap and paper towels and employees washing their hands. Also cleaned up was the ice bin where the inspector reported finding mold.
“It was from residue. I cleaned it up like they told me to,” said Randisi.
Randisi says he’s since met with employees to make sure they no longer leave the back door open, allowing flies into the kitchen. He says the restaurant’s pest control company also installed measures to keep any flies that do get inside away from food.
“[Pest control] came right out within an hour and we put fly strips up. We’re also going to put a blue light up.”
In fact, we looked around the entire kitchen and clearly staff is taking the necessary steps. There were no more rodent droppings found and management hopes customers will feel confident coming back.
“I want them to know Sharks is very compliant,” said Randisi. “Every issue will be addressed, and it has been addressed.”
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