RED ALERT: State inspector reports mold on pizza dough pans, inside ice machine | News
CLEARWATER BEACH, Florida- Across the street from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Leo's Pizza is popular among those who live nearby and visitors from around the world.
"The pizza is delicious," said Kevin Burke, who lives and works nearby.
But a surprise Valentine's Day inspection by the State Division of Hotels and Restaurants shows anything but lovely conditions inside this Clearwater Beach kitchen. The state documented 41 violations, seven considered "High Priority."
Also read: Restaurant Red Alert 2012 roundup
Among the issues: temperature violations on the cheese and sausage; raw chicken stored over the vegetables; and a dead roach in the bar area. The inspector also reported an employee using the restroom, then not washing their hands when they returned to make food; no soap or paper towels at the employee hand sink; and a cook making sandwiches without wearing gloves.
The report also lists a black or green mold-like substance inside the ice machine and mold on the dough pans for pizza.
"I don't know what to tell you ... I just started working here so, I don't know what's going on," said an unidentified employee when asked about the previous violations.
In fact, the employee told us she didn't even have a phone number for the restaurant's owner.
"It's just he and I right now. I don't know if Victoria will be here later, or what's going on," said the employee, explaining she was alone in the restaurant with the cook.
Red Alert: Look back at the nastiest restaurants in '12
When we asked for permission to take a look in the kitchen, the employee seemed reluctant. "I don't have any authority to let you come walking through here."
Finally, in search of any information, we asked to speak to the cook. That's when we were told to leave.
"You've got to go," said the employee, clearly agitated by our questions.
Outside, we shared news of Leo's previous inspection with customers.
"Well, it kind of turns my stomach," said Hetty Powell, who was visiting the area from Canada.
10 News left a message for the owner of Leo's to call us Wednesday evening, but we did not hear back.
Take a look at Leo's complete inspection history here.
Related: 10 Nastiest restaurants in 2012
Outrageous Restaurant Red Alert reports:
Band Aid Soup: Customer served soup - with a band aid in it!
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Finger in salad: Pizza customer claims there was a fingertip in his salad
Baked Roaches: Roaches found baked into Pizza Supreme
More Restaurant Red Alert Reports:
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Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12
Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12
CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12
China Express, Brandon 2/8/12
Daiquiri Deck, Maderia Beach 2/15/12
Athenian Garden, Tyrone Area, St. Pete 2/22/12
China Jade, Carrollwood, 3/7/12
Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille (Ybor City) 3/21/12
Sandy's Restaurant, Indian Rocks Beach 3/28/12