‘Roaches too numerous to count’: Four South Florida restaurants temporarily ordered shut

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Inspectors apparently got a little exasperated counting all the live flies and dead cockroaches at a pair of South Florida restaurants ordered closed by the state last week.

“Too numerous to count,” reported one inspector at fried fish and chicken chain Snappers on Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale. “Too many to count,” another inspector described at Los Panchos Tacos & Tequila in Lake Worth. (Eventually, though, these folks gamely came up with an estimate.) Meanwhile, the state discovered other roach woes at Cabana El Ray in Delray Beach and Taqueria El Tarazco in Hallandale Beach.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel highlights restaurant inspections in Broward and Palm Beach counties from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. We cull through hundreds of restaurant and bar inspections that happen weekly and spotlight places ordered shut for “high-priority violations,” like improper food temperatures or dead cockroaches.

Sun Sentinel readers can browse full Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade county reports on our state inspection map, updated weekly (usually Monday) with fresh data pulled from the Florida DBPR website.

Any restaurant that fails inspections must stay closed until it passes a follow-up state inspection. If you spotted a possible violation and wish to file a complaint, contact Florida DBPR here. (But don’t contact us: The Sun Sentinel doesn’t inspect restaurants.)

Snappers on Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale

Ordered shut: Jan. 24, reopened Jan. 25

Why: 17 violations (four high priority), led by this eyebrow-raising line: “dead small flying insects and roaches too numerous to count” at this fried fish and chicken chain. Inspectors, however, did try to count them: 20 dead flies and 41 dead roaches “on sticky pad in employee restroom,” under the kitchen storage shelves and sink and next to the water heater. The state also spotted 63 live flies landing “on bottles of syrup mix for frozen drinks,” “on bags of dry breading mixes,” “on bottles of hot sauce” and around the broom and dustpan in the employee bathroom. State inspectors found five more minor issues during their second visit on Jan. 25, but cleared the restaurant to reopen.

Los Pancho’s Tacos & Tequila, Lake Worth

Ordered shut: Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, reopened Jan. 29

Why: 16 violations (10 high priority), led by live flies “flying around the bar area, too many to count,” while a live rodent was discovered crawling “behind upright cooler in the kitchen.” Investigating further, inspectors spotted a rodent burrow in the back-door hallway covered in “gnawing marks” as well as “rodent rub marks” on the electric pipes behind the kitchen dishwasher. One inspector found a dead rodent caught on “a snap trap on the ledge behind” the sink. They also spotted the mess these pests left behind: 60 rodent droppings on bags of Mountain Dew, Pepsi and Tropicana lemonade in the kitchen storage room, under the toaster and on the bottom shelf of the kitchen prep table. The restaurant was also ordered to stop selling and toss its pico de gallo and salsa “due to temperature abuse.” More rodent activity forced inspectors to shut the restaurant a second time on Jan. 29, but reopened the taqueria later that day after the state’s third inspection.

Cabana El Ray, Delray Beach

Ordered shut: Jan. 27, reopened Jan. 28

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Why: Seven violations (three high priority), such as five “live roaches observed on ground” under a cooler near the kitchen’s cooking station, plus one dead roach on a cart holding dry ingredients in the kitchen. Inspectors also ordered the restaurant to stop selling and trash its cooked potatoes due to temperature abuse. The state found a single violation during its Jan. 28 reinspection but cleared the restaurant to open.

Taqueria El Tarazco, Hallandale Beach

Ordered shut: Jan. 25, Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, reopened Jan. 27

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