News4 In Your Corner


Dirty Dining? Look before you eat at some of your favorite Southwest Florida restaurants

Posted at 10:00 PM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 23:17:10-05

Dining out -- it's what we all love to do.  Most of us just walk in to the restaurant never giving a thought to what goes on behind those closed kitchen doors. 

But Fox 4 uncovered state inspection reports revealing shocking results: nasty trails of rodent droppings, roaches, and dirty food prep counters and more.

The Restaurants were all required to clean up.

Restaurant Consultant Virgil Cicco told Fox 4, "the big question is how long were the Restaurants out of compliance before state inspectors strolled in?"

Inspectors were in for a day's work when they paid a visit to the Bonita Springs Southfork Grill in late 2017.  From the state report: "Live and dead roaches in the kitchen, salmon offered undercooked by the chef, no proof of parasite destruction, raw fish and raw animal food stored over ready to eat food."

The restaurant cleaned it up, passed inspection, and was never shutdown.

A manager blamed it all on a former chef. We asked the current owners for a response. They never called back.

In addition, state inspectors recently went to the Manhattan Steak House in Bonita Springs.  From the state report: "Rodent droppings in the kitchen."

A man by the name of Kenny said the rodent droppings came from the ceiling tiles that were being replaced. The restaurant cleaned it up, passed inspection and was never shutdown.

Cicco tells Fox 4 that since you can't see behind the kitchen doors at your favorite restaurant, he suggested one way of making your own initial inspection. Obviously, never use a filthy fork.  “After you sit down, you should check your silverware. Look at the tines on the fork; if there’s nothing between the tines, okay, and the fork looks clean and your fine."

He suggests the same once-over  for the knife and spoon.

According to health websites, mouse and rat droppings can carry crazy diseases like salmonella, and hantavirus. It’s recommended that even cleaning that kind of waste at home should be done by a professional. 

Other restaurants with recent violations include:

  • Davide Itallian Cafe & Deli on Marco Island
  • Regina's Ice Cream Pavilion
  • Whiskey Creek Dining Room in Fort Myers
  • Starz Bar & Grill on Gladiolus Drive in Fort Myers
  • Stillwater Grille in Fort Myers
  • Taco Pancho in Cape Coral
  • El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant in Cape Coral
  • Great Wall Chinese in North Ft Myers

For a list of other restaurants that had inspection issues, go to