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Insects, rodent droppings shut down landmark Tarpon Springs restaurant

More than 130 flies, 1,000 insect wings and rodent droppings were among items a health inspector found.

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — Just one block from the famous sponge docks, Paul’s Shrimp House has been serving up seafood since the 1940’s.

“We’ve been coming here since I was a kid,” said Carol Kamin while sitting with her childhood friend Tammy Lyman. “We get the boiled shrimp, the Greek salad and it’s just delicious food.”

The women had no idea about the restaurant's long list of health code violations just one week ago. A health inspector with the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants documented 21 violations on May 30, including:

  • More than 130 flies near the ice bin, kitchen prep sink and under the dish washing machine.
  • More than 1,000 insect wings in the dining room with brown/red insects crawling up the walls.
  • Rodent activity with droppings discovered on the dish shelf and in a back storage area.

“I’m very clean in my own kitchen so I don’t want to imagine what could or cold not be going on with your food,” Lyman said.

But creepy critters weren’t the only problems. The restaurant was also written up for temperature violations on the potato salad and seafood lasagna, which was ordered to be thrown out. It was tested at 51 degrees after being prepared the night before.

10News stopped in Tuesday to check on the updated conditions.

“We were on it and they came and they did that they had to do, thank God,” said Head Chef Robert Galeazzo.

But state records show a history of some of the same violations at Paul’s Shrimp House.

Galeazzo says the restaurant takes care of problems as they come up and don’t provoke the pests.

The chef showed a reporter improvements that were made in the kitchen, including hand washing sinks stocked with soap and paper towels.

It also appeared the restaurant’s issue with flying insects was mostly alleviated, although a few dead insects were found.

There were also what appeared to be two to three fruit flies under the dish washing machine where the health inspector found problems a week earlier.

The only other issue was some moldy zucchini in the restaurant’s walk-in cooler.

“We’ll discard it,” said Galeazzo.

No new rodent droppings were found, and despite the remaining insects, customers seemed glad to hear things were improving.

“I really don’t want to think about it while I’m eating, but we live in Florida,” said Lyman. “We have flies and bugs and things everywhere and you can’t always be 100 percent sure, but them allowing you into the kitchen…made us feel a lot more comfortable.”

Paul’s was cleared to reopen the following day.

You can view their entire inspection history here.

Here's a list of other Florida restaurants closed down in May:

Business Name

Business Address

Business City

Date

Riverside Restaurant and Bar

29250 Lake Lindsey Rd

Nobleton

4/30/2018

Elmers Sports Cafe

2003 E 7 Ave

Tampa

4/30/2018

Taqueria El Burrito 2 Corp

2540 E Main St

Lakeland

5/3/2018

Westshore Pizza 13

24020 State Road 54

Lutz

5/10/2018

Dive Inn Bar and Grill

275 S Lake Shore Way

Lake Alfred

5/10/2018

Hallback's Bar & Grill

3900 Don Emerson Dr Ste 201

Lakeland

5/11/2018

Cider Press Cafe

601 Central Ave

St Petersburg

5/15/2018

Sportscasters

2655 E Bay Dr

Largo

5/15/2018

Midway Bar & Rest

2050 US 92 W

Lake Alfred

5/15/2018

CS Kobe & Italian

13505 ICOT Blvd Ste 207

Clearwater

5/15/2018

Shark Tales

677 75 Ave

St Pete Beach

5/17/2018

Courthouse Cafe

315 Court St

Clearwater

5/18/2018

Brew Pop Brewery

2122 US Hwy 92 West

Auburdale

5/19/2018

Manny's Original Chophouse

210 SR 60 W

Lake Wales

5/21/2018

Big Stein's Deli

9001 4 St N

St. Petersburg

5/22/2018

East Bay Family Restaurant

1555 E Bay Dr

Largo

5/23/2018

Westshore Pizza

6026 US Hwy 41 N

Apollo Beach

5/23/2018

Deccan Spice Tampa Bay

2325 Ulmerton Rd Ste 28

Clearwater

5/24/2018

Top China

3810 W Neptune St

Tampa

5/30/2018

Fried Rice King

6117 N Florida Ave

Tampa

5/30/2018

Paul's Famous Shrimp House

530 Athens St

Tarpon Springs

5/30/2018

McDonalds 11677

8506 Gunn Hwy

Odessa

6/1/2018

Restaurant & Lechonera El Jibarito

522 Joel Blvd Ste A

Lehigh Acres

5/2/2018

Steak N Shake Inc 331

4297 S Cattleman Rd

Sarasota

5/3/2018

Leo's French Toast House LLC

19581 Palm Beach Blvd

Alva

5/10/2018

The Colony Golf & Country Club

4101 Pelican Colony Blvd

Bonita Springs

5/15/2018

Mountain Comforts Coffee Cafe

3550 53rd Ave West

Bradenton

5/15/2018

Valenti Restaurant

1200 E Venice Ave

Venice

5/16/2018

Cafe 80

9891 W US 27

Clewiston

5/25/2018