FROSTPROOF, Florida — Roscoe's Panini, Pizza & Taco Tavern is open year round even through the tiny town of Frostproof’s population drastically dips when snowbirds head home for the summer.
“They have soups and sandwiches and they have lunch specials,” said customer Lynn Robarts. “They have a really good Cuban.”
Last week the few remaining year-round residents had one less restaurant option to enjoy after the state shut down Roscoe’s after discovering a kitchen filled with rodent droppings.
“I didn’t know that,” said a concerned Robarts.
After the state quickly cleared the establishment to reopen, 10Investigates stopped in to see if the problem was thoroughly cleaned up.
“We’re OK. I’ve taken care of everything the same day,” said manager Norman Miller who told 10News he spent seven hours cleaning up the kitchen after the closure.
Miller runs the restaurant on his own during slow season and readily admits keeping customers in and rodents out has been a challenge.
“They’re everywhere! I don’t know how they do it,” exclaimed Miller referring to the previous rodent problem.
He says pest control worked to seal up holes and the former filling station’s garage door to prevent vermin from getting inside.
“I’ve seen them up here,” pointing up to railings near the ceiling.
Miller took us around the kitchen where we did find traps baited with beef jerky. But it quickly became apparent the problem wasn’t totally cleaned up.
Our 10News camera captured images of what appeared to be rodent droppings in various corners around the kitchen.
As we continued looking, we found what appeared to be additional droppings including on a cookie sheet.
But it wasn’t just the droppings. We also found potentially toxic chemicals including weed and grass killer, along with flea and tick shampoo stored right above the food. On another shelf we found various medications and vitamins including one bottle missing the lid. Health inspectors generally do not approve of any medications in the area where food is prepared.
Now customers want to know why this establishment was cleared to reopen so quickly.
“It doesn’t sound like the health department or whoever shut them down is doing their job,” said Robarts.
The establishment was additionally cited for operating with no proof of employee training and having an expired license. The state is scheduled to re-inspect the restaurant in the coming weeks.