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Feb 17, 2009 02:42 PM

How do you handle seeing a roach?

There I was, sitting at the sushi bar, putting a beautifully crafted piece of food/art into my mouth, when I gaze over and one foot from my head is staring back at me.... you guessed it... a roach. Now, mind you it is noon, and very bright.... and this thing was just sitting there! I casually grabbed my napkin, and WHAM, I showed the waitress who just shrugged at me and said "Oh they come back all the time"

o.O ?!

You know, I used to love this place, ate there once a week. The whole rest of my lunch was ruined at that point, and I don't know if I can return.

Now, before I hear it repeatedly, I know there are roaches in most restaurants... just this is the first time I had one a foot from my head while I was eating!

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  1. Yes, there are roaches in restaurants. But, if you are seeing one in the dining area, there is a very good chance that the infestation in the back of the house is much worse. I'd have a lot of trouble returning to a place that did not respond appropriately to a patron pointing out a cockroach. In my opinion, you were right to be put off by the waitress's response. What does it say about their attitude toward cleanliness in the kitchen if they can't even fake it to the customers?

    On the one occasion I found a cockroach in my food, they apologized and comped my food (which I didn't finish) and my companions' food (which I thought was really unnecessary, but definitely considerate on the restaurant's part).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cachetes

      Well said, Cachetes. Even if it is common, the server should have the good sense to act shocked even if she wasn't.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. If you are going to "black list" every restaurant because of a roach that was spotted in the dining room I think you would run out of places to eat. Roaches are in most restaurants but as long as the business is taking the proper steps to control them its ok, they won't kill you. In Florida I have notices roaches in many places... due to the warm/humid weather... get over it, you'll be ok!

        1. re: wtl488

          I won't run out of places to eat because I would ultimately eat at home where I know it's clean. Fortunately, I know that there are good restaurants that actively keep ahead of the roaches (from urban centers to the tropical extremes) by pursuing cleanliness with the same attention they pay to food.

          If I see a roach near me or my food, I can assume it is a only foot soldier for the battalion living in the kitchen. And that is not just ick, it's sick.

          1. re: alwayscooking

            My house is very clean and I get pest control ... however ... I still get the occasional roach more than just the occasional one. No matter how clean ... FL?? Well I worked in my fare share of restaurants and people would be appauled. Trust me, but even my house, clean and neat gets them on occasion .... sorry but 1 roach doesn't bother me. I can pretty much tell by looking at the overall appearance.

            Not a big deal

            1. re: alwayscooking

              You've never seen a bug in your house? Ever? Wow...

              1. re: AngelSanctuary

                Me either, and I live in Houston. See my posts below.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Roaches will outlive us. The two times I encountered them in a restaurant, one was dead and in my dish; the other was very much alive, crawling along the wall, minding his own business, hanging out. In the first incident, I immediately told the waiter, who later came back and "joked" how they were eating my dish for lunch in the back and it was fine, everyone is still alive, har har. They're no longer in business.

            The second incident, we discreetly told the manager, who was very apologetic and somehow managed to get rid of it w/o the other diners noticing.

            Then there was the time I saw one in an airplane, but that's another story....

            1. a couple years ago I did a Food Managers Certification course in Fl. The trainer told us there is not a single restaurant in South Fl without roaches or rodents. Even our houses have roaches no matter how clean and no matter how often the exterminators come.

              I still hate them and can't stand to see one (or more).

              13 Replies
              1. re: smartie

                I disagree about all of us having roaches. I live in Houston, Tx, in a house built in the 50's, and I do not have roaches in my house, and I don't use pesticides either. Occasionally one of those large tree roaches (lots of trees in our yard) but the cats consider those to be toys, so they are eliminated quickly.

                Funny story about those tree roaches. They are pretty large, and we knew a woman who moved here from NYC. She saw one and screamed "what is that?" Without batting an eye the person with her said "Oh, that's a baby armadillo", and she actually believed him for awhile!

                1. re: danhole

                  Roaches are a huge problem in Florida. I know people who are immaculate and still get them, because the big roaches have nothing to do with cleanliness. If you are lucky enough to be free of them, you are in the minority. When I lived in Florida I had to have exterminators come out at least yearly to keep my house from being infested by ants and roaches. My parents are immaculate and still have issues. It's hot, it's humid, it doesn't get cold enough to kill the roaches off--- they love it.

                  1. re: queencru

                    I had a friend who moved from Canada to Sarasota a few (decades?) years back. He was appalled to discover "palmetto bugs" (the cute name that Floridians give to their mutant roaches) in his home, and called an exterminator. They came, fumigated, and asked him how often he wanted them to come back. Peter was miffed, and said "Hey, I can keep my house clean". The exterminator smirked and said "You're from up north, aren't you?". Six months later, Peter signed up for quarterly visits.

                    But I have to say I worked in a lot of different restaurants in Ontario, and the only "creepy crawlers" I ever saw were the occasional one that sneaked in the lettuce on the salad bar, or in the salads.

                    I really think it's an issue of temperature. I remember my first visit to the Philippines; my brothers-in-law took us out to what was considered a very nice place for breakfast. I was a little offput when the resident cat did its business in the planter a few feet from my head (much to the bs-i-l's amusment!), but I was quite gobsmacked when I noticed the pattern on the ceiling tiles was shifting. At first, I thought it was just jet lag, but then I realized these were little lizards - dozens of them - crawling around.

                    I really think in those fecund atmospheres where the joke is "Throw down a seed, and stand back!", people just have to accept insects as a fact of life. Here in the Great White North, where we have winter to keep them at bay, not so much.

                    1. re: KevinB

                      Those are gekkos and they eat the bugs! Harmless and clean.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        When I first moved to El Paso, I had a major infestation of roaches, which I blamed on my mover. Turned out not to be the mover, but my builder. He had build my brand new house on land infested with German cockroaches! So I got a gorgeous turquoise and lime green gecko. Named him Jose Gecko. He totally eradicated the roaches. I didn't realize he was starving until the cat ate him. I cried. But even after his sad demise, I NEVER had another roach in that house!

                        I never buy any produce in those "net" bags, like onions or potatoes. They are major transportation for roaches.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I know what happened and why you never had another roach - after your cat ate Jose Gecko it got a taste of german cockroach, and then feasted on them!

                          We have lots of geckos that hang out under our mailbox, which is on our house, not out in the yard. Maybe that attributes to the lack of roaches, but we have never had any.

                    2. re: queencru

                      You mean water bugs or palmetto bugs? These are what they are called in NC and SC. LOL I love how people give them different names to clean up their image and make them less scary. Roaches terrify me!

                      I can remember dining at a nice resto and seeing a roach FLY across the dining room and land on a pillar near our table. I nearly screamed out loud I was so freaked out. However, another time I was eating wings at our favorite wing bar in PA (they had the best wings ever) and I saw a small roach march across a neighboring table. I talked myself out of fleeing and tried to stay focused on the tasty wings. Funny how good food can sometimes change your perception... at least it did for me that one time.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        IIRC, the Cockroach Association has retained a famous Madison Ave. PR firm to help with those images. Some of the new names are supposed to be "Azalea Bug," and "Magnolia Bug." Maybe these terms will be introduced during the TV coverage of The Masters this year? I heard that "Gardinia Bug," did not make the final cut, as most of the focus groups could not tell the difference between a gardinia and a jasmine plant....


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          A very, very grande one made off with my steak while my head was turned and we nicknamed him the "Steal Magnolia Bug" -

                    3. re: danhole

                      i remember those "baby armadillos" from my years in ATL. those things were so damned huge, you could HEAR the tick-ticking of their legs when they walked.


                      i still get the heebies just thinking about it!

                      gryphonskeeper, we had a discussions about this last year...


                      1. re: danhole

                        I'm surprised a New Yorker was so shocked; I've seen some roaches on the sidewalks here in NYC that could probably eat a real baby armadillo in one bite :-P Luckily I only get the little ones in my apartment; they're gross enough. It's true, no matter how scrupulously clean you keep it and how many traps you put out, there's no stopping them entirely.
                        I've never seen a roach in a restaurant. If it was on the wall I could probably handle it, but it my food or on my table staring me in the face - dinner would be over.