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Would a roach scare you away if the food was good and the place did not look dirty?

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A few months ago, we ate a sushi restaurant that had just opened up near my office. While we were dining, a small roach ran across our table (the hubster trapped it under the soy sauce pot). We showed it to the server and he was exceedingly embarrased as he dispatched it and hustled away.

We were tempted to leave, but our food seemed fresh, properly prepared, and was tasty. I was creeped out the whole time and looking for more bugs, but saw nothing else out of the ordinary. Everything within sight looked clean... the carpet, the fixtures... everything tidy, nothing dingy or grimy or smelly. The health department sign in the front was an "A."

We did not get comped anything, which I thought odd, since we didn't immediately leave and refuse to pay, which some people would have, I presume. But we haven't been back since. I know I should have summoned the manager to report the bug, but having never been in that situation, I wasn't sure what to do.

What would you have done? Would you ever return?

  1. I have a cockroach phobia. I'd have run out screaming, even if it had been ten feet away. I sure wouldn't go back because the roaches you see represent the gadzillions that aren't out in the open, visible. <*shudder*>

    1. After working in restaurants for 12 years, I came to expect roaches. They are ubiquitous, especially in areas where restaurants are tightly grouped. One bug would not freak me out at all.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mojoeater

        Where there is one roach there are many more!

        1. re: 37998Susan

          Yep. And they are in just about every restaurant or grocery store you've ever entered.

      2. It would not bother me.

        Having grown up in restaurant kitchens and worked at restaurants a good part of my life, roaches are part of restaurants -- even the ones you can't see.

        As an aside. Ever been to Hawai'i? Anyone who is freaked out by one roach should never dine out, or even visit the Islands.

        22 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Would have been the deal breaker for me.If I don't know... that's how it is.When you see them in the dining area there's that many more in the kitchen and food storage area.Everytime I hear a review of a great restaurant and some one mentions roaches or mice I cross it off my list.I may eventually just be eating my own cooking.

          1. re: casalbore spirit

            Roaches and assorted other critters are in the boxes that come into the restaurant through deliveries,
            as many as 20-30 deliveries a week in some cases Not only do you see Roaches, it is the ones that get cooked ,mixed, blended into food items that you have to realize you have eaten plenty of vermin in your lifetime, The USDA even has a minimum standard for rodent hairs and insect parts that are acceptable in Grains and Flours. Hey "It is all protein!"

            1. re: ospreycove

              Ever work in the loading/unloading areas of supermarkets?

              An absolute cornucopia of roaches and other protein-rich critters ... Yum!

              1. re: ospreycove

                It is funny that you mention the USDA specs because I will never forget reading a Readers Digest magazine article that spelled out what the tolerance was for foreign matter in different foods. It was a long tim before I could eat anything without giving it a real looking over.

                Now I am a little older and wiser and have worked in a couple restaurants and markets and know that the little buggers will outlive human life on Earth and I don't sweat it if I see one in an otherwise clean establishment.

                1. re: ospreycove

                  Roaches lay eggs in the glue that holds the cardboard boxes together.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                " Ever been to Hawai'i? Anyone who is freaked out by one roach should never dine out, or even visit the Islands"

                I once worked with someone who'd lived in Hawaii. He referred to the roaches as ""747s."

                1. re: mcf

                  I'm from Hawaii originally. We call them "747s" because they are huge and fly.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  In Florida, you have to tip the roaches. Or they might key your car.

                  1. re: Steve

                    I hate the critters but living in Fl it's a way of life - I used to run when I saw them but now I have perfected the art of a glass over the top of the Palmetto bug and put it outside or reach for the Raid.

                    1. re: smartie

                      After my sister in No. Miami Bch had Borid or Drione blown into all the voids in her house via outlets, etc, she didn't have to spray any more, never saw roaches again. I never saw one there, either. I visited repeatedly, years after the treatment.

                    2. re: Steve

                      In Hawaii, our rental was so infested with roaches we started asking them for restaurant recommendations and sightseeing tips.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        did they come up with any good ones? (I'd doubt their perspective as 1. they don't pay and 2. I wouldn't know how to begin to judge their palate.)

                        1. re: hill food

                          Well, roaches will eat anything. Figure if there's a place even they would not dine at, it's definitely a place to avoid.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            surely a hallmark and a standard.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          Did they send you off to Moose McGillycuddy's or Cheese Burger in Paradise? Or to a snorkel boat trip on the Trilogy?

                          1. re: boyzoma

                            One thing nice about the Trilogy experience is the "diving cockroaches."

                            Hunt

                        3. re: Steve

                          Only if they don't validate.

                        4. re: ipsedixit

                          lol....the same goes for New Orleans (or Houston, for that matter...). During our recent trip to New Orleans we had just parked in a restaurant parking lot when what I thought was a rat ran across my foot. It took me a minute in the dim evening light to realize that it was actually a cockroach...it was just the size of a rat!! (Ok, maybe I exaggerate a little...but not much!)

                          I decided I was NOT going to let it ruin my evening out, and I did NOT mention it to either son or DH, since both have definite cockroach phobias.....

                          1. re: janetofreno

                            The critter that ran across your foot wasn't named Gregor by any chance, was he?

                            1. re: janetofreno

                              Yeah, down NOLA-way, the cockroaches can get pretty large. They expand exponentially, when they fly! Their wing cases open up, and about 10,000 wings come out. They are about the size of a CA condor, at that point.

                              When we go to the zoo, and they bring out the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, and tout them as the largest on Earth, I want to challenge those bugs to a "cage match" with a NOLA flying cockroach. My money is on the NOLA bug.

                              Hunt

                              PS - regardless of how clean your home is, and how much you pay Terminex, there WILL be cockroaches, and there is no way around that, other than "leg traps" in the yard.

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                we get some big -uns in So Fl, fortunately not all that frequently in my kitchen but the bathrooms ....... Even my big dogs are scared of them.

                                1. re: smartie

                                  Yes, the Tropics do have quite a few. Even here in the High Sonoran Desert, we have had a bad year with the little buggers. Won't see any for several years, and then there was this Summer! Made me think that I was back in the Tropics. Fortunately, out here, they were all relegated to the pool patio and the putting green - we always called a Mulligan, if one altered the line of the putt.

                                  Hunt

                          2. Palmetto bug or German roach?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: smartie

                              um, regular "will survive the apocalypse" cockroach. young.

                              1. re: smartie

                                smartie, Palmetto bug is enough for a family of 4....lol

                              2. I know we have roaches in Minnesota, but I've never seen one here, either in our home or in a restaurant. If I saw one on a table, I'd stay and eat the food, but I probably would find another place to eat next time around.

                                1. First, there's a difference between something being "clean" and something being "sanitary" -- things can look clean and not be sanitary, and vice versa.

                                  Roaches don't make you sick, bacteria do. But since we can't see bacteria, we have developed a whole set of warning signs that bacteria may be present, including the presence of rats and cockroaches, that may or may not have any relationship to whether their food is safe to eat. I've been battling a rat infestation for a couple of months now, but I have no qualms with how safe the food is in my kitchen, because I know how my food is handled (besides, I live in a magic house).

                                  You mentioned that this place was "near your office" -- in an urban environment it's almost impossible to completely control what comes into your restaurant from the adjoining areas: you could have the cleanest kitchen in the world, and if the tenant on the other side of the wall has a roach problem, you'll have a roach problem.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    oh god I had rats last summer due to sewer work, and frankly I'd rather have rats than roaches (except for the "holy shit!" moment at 2 AM or whenever). that said, I'm more concerned with a kitchen fostering listeria or salmonella than visible bugs.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      Exactly. Those bugs you can't see are a lot more dangerous than the ones you can see!

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        Ruth, your "magic house" how do I find one? I know people in the RE biz, and have worked on it's periphery (staging mostly) but other than storage and not allowing anything to paddle through a reduction, I don't understand how anybody can convince themselves a kitchen is thoroughly free.

                                        this comment goes nowhere, other than to try to talk some down from the ceiling.

                                        oh, wait I get it. a Sam F Ref. cool.

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Yeah. Sam F. I think "magic house" will (hopefully) outlive all of us. I live in one and it follows me all over the planet.

                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          It's not as if being concerned about one means one isn't at least as concerned about other filth. I hate it all.

                                          And roaches do, actually, carry diseases and are extremely allergenic as well. But for me, it's mostly the utter, complete, total phobic ICK factor.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            To clarify http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/ehs/...:
                                            "Do cockroaches transmit disease?
                                            Cockroaches are scavengers. While walking on spoiled food in garbage containers, they pick up various bacterial organisms on their legs that they can later deposit on uncovered food. Cockroaches themselves are not implicated in the transmission of any diseases. However, many disease-causing organisms can grow and multiply in their guts and can then be deposited on silverware, plates etc. during defecation. For example, cockroaches can pick up disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella on their legs and later deposit them on foods and cause food poisoning. People continuously exposed to dust containing cockroach feces and crushed body parts become sensitized and may show allergic reaction and asthma after repeated exposure to such dust."

                                            In other words, the cockroach itself does not cause disease. Bacteria cause disease. Understanding the difference is really important -- too many people are focused on the *ick* factor and completely ignore real but invisible dangers that are much more likely to make them ill.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              I knew that; I used the term "carry" literally where the word "spread" may've been more appropriate.

                                              I confess, as a roach phobic, to having a much bigger reaction to the "ICK" factor, but in general, I'm very focused on filth, especially what you don't see.
                                              Don't get me started on kitchen faucets with hot and cold knobs you have to put your hands on vs. levers you can use with the side of your wrist or back of hand, frex. :-)

                                    2. If you were creeped out and uneasy you should have left. Bugs are a part of life, especially when it comes to food. People on CH seem to laud organic food, which comes from the ground... which translates into many, many bugs:} Would I find it appetizing to see? Absolutely not. I also think a conscientious restaurant would apologize, and a free wine or dessert would be nice. However, there is no reason why you should have been comped, unless the bug was actually part of your meal. Even in the finest restaurants, there are bugs. Just check the current health inspections online. However, I would certainly speak with the owner and if it happened again, I would probably take my business elsewhere.

                                      1. My employer of many years had a magnificent home in the Las Brisas area of Acapulco, and we spent many weekends there. I would go for a midnight snack of ceviche or flan, and when I hit the light switch in the kitchen there were usually enough roaches to play a volleyball game, scrambling to get out of the light. I would swat 5 or 6, but that was pissing in a blast furnace. Money can't buy you love, and it can't rid you of roaches.

                                        1. Growing up in Northern CA which is both too chilly and too dry to support a healthy roach population, it was a real shock the first time I saw one at age 17. In a McDonald's in downtown San Francisco. Now say what you want about McD's, but they are if nothing else, CLEAN.

                                          Now I live in the warm moist tropics on an island that never feels the bite of winter, and it's not just the tourists that love it here. Anyone who has a roach phobia would need to be tranquilized within 24 hours of arrival on the island. Back when I was in college one of the most popular t-shirts had a drawing of the roaches we call B-29's, and yes, they fly. The caption.... Since we're neighbors, lets be friends. And in Waikiki you could get buy gold plated cockroaches as jewelry (yes, really - keep waiting for those to make a comeback)

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            KM: really depends on which McD's in SF frankly...

                                            1. re: hill food

                                              this was the late 70's, on market near new montgomery. im guessing it had a damp basement.

                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                ah that one, yeah. but there are worse.

                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                              A friend and I visited some bachelor friends on Oahu in the mid-70s. I thought they kept so many things in the fridge cause they were slobs. Then I found out about the bugs. Major bugs. But I didn't have an ick factor about that. My hangup was the condition of their bathtub. No way was I putting my "bottom" there :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                yeah in college we had a shower like that. (clean? I'm supposed to get 'clean' in that?!?!) but no bugs, the cats took care of that (and their 'box' occupied the working tub - believe me, given the owners' habits it was better that way).

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Yea, that happens with the tub. When I was in college I showered with my flip flops on. My bare feet never touched anything in the bathroom.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    It's not just the bugs as far as things in the fridge. The humidity here gets into everything and it either spoils or just gets soggy. Flour may not spoil, but try to make a pie crust from flour that has been in 75% humidity at 85 degrees for 4 months. Once you open a bag of chips, or crackers, or even cookies, they gotta go in the fridge or freezer if you want to enjoy the rest of the bag more than two hours later.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Ah, thanks for the education. Somehow I don't think these men have ever made pie crust!!!!! Just writing that made me LOL :)

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        hey hey hey hold on there a minute!

                                                        ok so it has been quite a while. and that was in semi-arid CA.

                                                        jeez, how did we go from bugs to cat litter to pie crust? sometimes I really enjoy digression.

                                                      2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                        Yes! I was amazed when I moved to the mainland for college and could actually keep an open chips bag in the cabinet with a "chips clip" and they didn't go stale!

                                                  2. A cockroach would make me feel a little uneasy. A Palmetto bug wouldn't bother me at all.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      Yes, but a Palmetto Bug would fight you for your dinner!!!!!

                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                        Well, hailing from New Orleans, where we called a cockroach a cockroach and did not let semantics enter into the discussion, my 70 # Bulldog would not go to her water bowl at night, unless we turned on the lights, and showed her that there were no cockroaches anywhere near her bowl.

                                                        Until you have seen a bull-cockroach (called palmetto bugs and other things elsewhere) in flight, wing-case extended and all those wings buzzing in your direction, with those giant yellow fangs bared, you have not been into the Deep South.

                                                        What really gets me is that many have a real attitude, and have been known to deliberately spill a glass of Pappy Van Winkle 25 year old Bourbon, or a glass of fine Bordeaux. SOB's!

                                                        Now, if they turn over a glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve, that you are only drinking because your S-I-L brought it, that's OK, and to be expected. When the "good stuff" comes out, they need to go back into the swamp.

                                                        Hunt

                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                        Palmetto bugs scare the hell out of me. I'm not concerned about germs, these things just freak me out.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          OK, assume you are being tongue in cheek, because in Honolulu, those are just cockroaches. Palmetto bugs must be a regional name.

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            "Palmetto bugs" is a marketing attempt by cockroaches in FL (USA) to gain acceptance. About 30 years ago, the cockroaches hired an ad agency to improve their perception. To some, that has worked wonders, "Dawlin', those are not cockroaches. Those are only palmetto bugs... "

                                                            Yeah, right!

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              they got Saatchi and Saatchi, right?

                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                Well, most are large enough to carry Channel bags!

                                                                When you see them with Burberry mufflers, you know that you are in trouble.

                                                                Hunt

                                                          1. I'm from New York (kind of obvious from the Chowhound handle, I guess). Roaches don't really scare me. Roaches can travel in and so long as the restaurant was clean and the food was good and the roach count was minimal (like one) I think I'd be fine.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                                                              really? I was sure you were from Brooklyn Illinois (</>smirk and don't ask what THAT means)

                                                            2. Well, it would depend on several things:

                                                              How large is the roach?

                                                              How much of my meal did the roach eat?

                                                              Did the roach otherwise attack me, or any of the diners at my table?

                                                              Did the roach interfere with the service, say knocking the wine bottles out of the hand of the servers?

                                                              Did the roach cause me to be charged extra for, say a second main dish?

                                                              Until those questions are answered, I cannot comment.

                                                              Hunt

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                I totally agree with you. Especially the size and agressiveness of the roach.

                                                              2. One renegade roach doesn't warrant a comp. Several roaches scurrying about your table might warrant something.

                                                                You could have brought it to the manager's attention, but he knows they have a problem. They have an exterminator coming in to control them(kill as many as possible). A bad infestation and they'll seal everything in plastic and gas the place overnight hoping to kill them all. The procedure isn't like placing a bug bomb in your home and leaving for a few hours. They "fog" in certain areas where they suspect high infestation and sometimes they don't kill them all and a few will get out and about around the restaurant, which might be one of those you saw.

                                                                If they have an "A" rating doesn't mean a restaurant has no roaches. Health inspectors have a spray they call a "router" where they spray known areas where roaches will hide. The router will cause the roaches to flee the area of the spray, the inspector makes a determinination of how serious the problem is and may give them a lower rating or shut them down.

                                                                If one roach prevents you from returning to a restaurant, you shouldn't go to restaurants at all.
                                                                I'd be more concerned about the employee hygene habits than roaches.
                                                                If you saw the things that go on behind the scenes you'd never eat at a restaurant again.

                                                                The cleanest and finest restaurants aren't immune from having roaches, you just might not see them.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. Something to consider: would you rather the occasional roach or the tons of chemicals it takes to rid the bugs?

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                    Better on your table than in your food!

                                                                  2. I'm surprised at all the nonchalant responses here! But I guess I have a mild roach phobia. I'd pack up and leave ASAP (but would pay the bill for whatever we had already ordered). Like the OP, I would just be creeped out the whole time. I accept the rational explanations here about how every restaurant has critters, but I definitely do not want to see one on my table.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Pia

                                                                      Much of that nonchalance might well be predicated on where one has lived. In some environs, cockroaches, however vile, are just a fact of life. At some point, one learns to "work around them." Now, I do not like 'em, and tell my Terminex guy to "nuke the bas___ds." This from someone, who grew up in NOLA and near by. I used to joke that the Louisiana State Bird was the flying cockroach.

                                                                      They are a very unfortunate fact of life in certain locations. Wish that it was not so, but it is.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        as opposed to the Florida State Bird which is the Early Bird!

                                                                    2. No, one roach in an otherwise clean looking establishment wouldn't drive me out for good. However, years ago I did give up on a dive indian place after seeing multiple roaches crawling on the ceiling and one dropping onto a nearby table. I'd overlooked the disgusting bathrooms, sketchy carpeting, and periodic closures for many months because the food was so good but the falling roach...was just too much.

                                                                      1. I see a roach, and I'm outta there! Where there's one roach there are more...lots more. Sorry, I can't get over this one. I wouldn't have even found out how fresh, properly prepared, and tasty the food was because I would have paid for what we had already eaten/drunk and left, never to darken their door again. There are plenty of clean establishments in my area.

                                                                        I know, I know, bugs are everywhere in Florida, and that's one of the reasons I would never live there. If that makes me narrow minded,(or worse, sheltered) so be it. And, no, I don't want to eat them, either...no matter how how many times Zimmern tells me how good they are. If I want protein I'll have steak, medium rare, thank you.

                                                                        When in the Navy, I did a stint of shore duty on base. Most of the people in the division I ran lived in the barracks. You couldn't cook in your room, but it had a community kitchen. When I took over, the kitchen was sprayed for roaches about once a month and they still came back. I started making the troops actually clean up after themselves under threat of closing the kitchen down (and actually doing it for a while). I also made sure the daily cleanup included the kitchen, where it was cleaned "restaurant style" by the duty cleanup crew. In less than a month the roachs went away and spraying was no longer needed as long as I was there.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                                          It isn't just the Roaches you see, it is the vermin in the supply chain that get ground up into the ingredients you eat............yum..........

                                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                                            :) I thought of some CHs a couple of days ago when we drove through the San Joaquin Valley in Central CA. There were granaries and some of the freshly ground stuff hadn't been covered yet. Small mountains of it. One had about 50 pigeons on top of it. It's true for some here that what they don't see doesn't hurt them :)

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              I wonder if the "seasoning" from the pigeons and their overeating affects the flovor of my polenta??

                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                Probably makes it even better!

                                                                        2. Having lived in Taipei where they have roaches as long as your thumb, that fly, and having walked into my bathroom there to find one of them in amorous embrace with my toothbrush, and figured it wasn't the first time (threw out toothbrush of course), no, a roach in a restaurant doesn't bother me.

                                                                          1. A dozen years ago I was dining at our favorite restaurant in Phila's Chinatown with my husband and another couple. While we were ordering we noticed some people come in the front door to pick up a takeout order. One man had a huge cockroach on the back of his jacket, which promptly jumped off onto the floor and made a bee-line for under our table. It was bizarre. We were seated in a booth and I was blocked in by my husband. The roach next popped out on the top of our table and headed straight for me! I freaked, because it was a roach on a mission and it was huge, lol. My DH wasn't moving, even though I was telling him to at increasingly high volume and our dinner companions had already scattered. I practically had to turn the table over on him to get my husband to move out of my way. He wasn't going to let the roach win, or something equally illogical. Me making a scene in a restaurant for the first time in my life = roach has already won, as far as I'm concerned. The roach crawled down onto where I'd been sitting and we lost track of it. The restaurant manager came over and made a big show of "killing" the roach, but it was pretty clear he was faking it. We got moved to a different table and we enjoyed the rest of our meal. We saw it come in, so we didn't have any issues with their food, although realistically every restaurant in a city battles roaches, so best not to think about that too much. I still have uncontrollable leg twitches whenever we go to that restaurant, like there are bugs crawling on me, but that's my husband's fault, not theirs.

                                                                            1. I grew up in Hawaii, so it wouldn't bother me. I now how clean our house was and there's no way to avoid roaches (and ants!) in the tropics.

                                                                              Once during college in Seattle, a friend of mine who is also from Hawaii and I were sitting in a bar having a nice cocktail when we heard screams from the table next to ours. The women there were completely losing it - screaming, standing on their booth and pointing to a blob on the wall - that turned out to be an African hissing cockaroach! The women left in a hurry, but my friend and I weren't bothered - it certainly wasn't hurting anyone and it was on the far wall way up high anyway. The server told us that there had been a pet store next door that sold them and when they went out of business they just released them so now they appear in the bar. Was actually quite funny to see how upset the women next to us were.

                                                                              I think seeing an infestation of any kind in a restaurant is a problem, but one or two bugs - no big deal, especially in tropical climates. They are there, whether you see them or not.

                                                                              1. Knowing of their existence does not mean I want to see one taking a leisurely stroll across my table top or anywhere else in an indoor, public dining space. Since the large majority of restaurants keep them at bay and unseen by the dining public, the sight of one in other restaurants is like a neon sign screaming "sanctuary for the common roach".

                                                                                No, I will not return to a restaurant of such upkeep.

                                                                                20 Replies
                                                                                1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                  It's not a matter of upkeep.
                                                                                  No matter how clean the restaurant is roaches don't care.

                                                                                  Almost every restaurant has roaches and when no one is around they're crawling all over stuff .......dry good storage, silverware, glassware, dishes, countertops, tabletops. You think they clean that stuff everyday?

                                                                                  Out of sight-out of mind ?

                                                                                  1. re: monku

                                                                                    Let me reapeat: Since the large majority of restaurants keep them at bay and unseen by the dining public, the sight of one in other restaurants is like a neon sign screaming "sanctuary for the common roach".

                                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                                      that's such complete b.s. that "most" restaurants have roaches! maybe "most" restaurants in warm climates like florida, nola, socal, hawaii, etc have them. maybe "most" restaurants that are in enclosed recirc-air areas like airports and shopping malls have them, but this is just not true about places north. it's more like less than 5% of all restaurants! dh and i have worked in many restaurants in our careers and it's a grand total of 2 places which had roaches, both very unsanitary *and* with other factors such as above. both of them now closed, btw. my god. sure there are places in the world where you interrupt a roach baseball game every time you switch on the light, and you gotta take things in stride, but to say that every restaurant in the world is awash in roaches and other vermin, and that sanitation has nothing to do with the problem, come on! a guy who never left nyc told me authoritatively that "every restaurant has rats." uh, NO.

                                                                                      i would not think twice about seeing a roach crawl over my shoe, if i happened to be dining in NOLA. live and let live. in areas which get frost, my radar begins to go off when seeing bugs. if i'm at a mall food court, there's likely nothing to be done about it; if the restaurant is in a converted warehouse, then the presence of bugs may make sense; if the place has been restaurant after restaurant for 200 years in the same location, yeah the bugs may have moved in at some point. but seeing a roach randomly in a restaurant in my area (msp) is uncommon enough to warrant special notice. sanitation absolutely *does* matter, and the statement: "almost every restaurant has roaches" is completely false.

                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                        I have never seen a roach in a restaurant in Minnesota. Heck, I've never seen one anywhere in Minnesota. I've read that the only time there are real infestations in homes here are from roaches hitch-hiking when people move in from other areas of the country.

                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          Maybe I will retire to MN - I have lived with them far too long. Now, in Colorado, we had very, very few. Gotta' be the cold Winters.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            Although I have never seen a roach in a restaurant in Minnesota or elsewhere, they apparently do exist in Minnesota. (Moderators, why delete the second post when I didn't name the restaurant?) There is a newspaper story about a restaurant on University Ave. with a cockroach infestation. The inspectors wanted to shut it down for repeated violations. The city council chose not to do that. The restaurant's attorney is a former city council member, go figure.

                                                                                          2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                            You're right.... My bad.
                                                                                            Maybe I should have said "any" restaurant can have roaches.
                                                                                            I just get frustrated when someone like the OP acts like they've never seen a roach in a restaurant.

                                                                                            1. re: monku

                                                                                              I wasn't acting. I hadn't ever seen one in a restaurant before. And I've lived all over the US and in Spain for a stint, as well, and I'm not new to dining out. I'm not saying there haven't been roaches "behind the scenes" in places where I've dined, or that maybe a roach hasn't been scurrying around beneath the table, I'm just saying that the situation I described above really was the first time I had a "close encounter" with a cockroach in a restaruant.

                                                                                              1. re: monku

                                                                                                Just as point of reference, I grew up on a coastal area, to where I return often to enjoy dining out on fresh seafood, I've worked in 2 food establishments - one being fast food - I've eaten in countless restaurants, both high brow and low. In those food related experiences, I've seen 2 roaches - two - in total. One was a run down Tex-Mex chain joint where the roach was crawling up the wall. The other a breakfast/lunch diner where the critter was taking a casual walk across the table. Unexcusable.

                                                                                                1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                  If they're walking across the tables, there's a real bad problem there.

                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                I get what you're saying, but what about the bugs that come in on/with the food? Unless all you get is frozen food, I'd guess that once or twice (really, more than that) you'd get hitchhikers. I've gotten slugs, roaches, ants, spiders, etc. in my home kitchen with produce - why wouldn't that be true with a restaurant?

                                                                                                1. re: akq

                                                                                                  never seen it. i never saw bugs in cheap, poorly shipped cases of conventional produce, mostly from california, when i had to deal with that, and nowadays, working w primarily organic produce, while i've certainly encountered a few earthworms, ladybugs, sometimes aphids, occasional butterflies and moths, & the green caterpillars that hang out on organically grown broccoli and cauliflower--never seen roaches come in with a delivery, ever, including cases of produce shipped from socal and AZ--and rejecting deliveries w evidence of insect infestation is SOP with every restaurant's HACCP. maybe it's true with places that get pallets of rice shipped in on boats from the subtropics-- but no, no roaches in the produce. not in the produce *warehouse* itself--where i myself frequently do "will calls" (to pick up small amts of stuff 2-6 cases, so too small for delivery) -- either. . . i would switch distributors if i saw roaches there, because i absolutely do not want to deal w a vermin problem-- and a well-run produce warehouse will be clean enough to not have a problem, even in warm climes. i don't get the "roaches are inevitable" POV. i understand Monku's "roaches happen" POV--& i agree. roaches *can* happen, and it isn't necessarily the restaurant's fault. in warm climates it almost certainly isn't-- and roach-o-phobes need to remember this and chill. however, if you're dining in vancouver and a roach darts across the table it's appropriate to raise an eyebrow, and asses what the situation is w the restaurant and its surroundings, imo. thanks.

                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                    Souper, You have been very very, lucky. not to see routine infestation of rodents, insects and other vermin.
                                                                                                    Even the USDA and FDA recognizes this is a reality has set maximum standards for insect parts, rodent hairs, rodent droppings, etc. for the amount of these contaminates in processed and unprocessad foods and grains.

                                                                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                      You're exactly right about the FDA - things like that are referred to as "filth". Know what product is most susceptible to filth? A dried fig (because of the internal pollination by wasps).

                                                                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                        i don't think luck has much to do with it. there is nothing "routine" about serious infestations in shipments from reputable distributors, that's all. i've worked in real dives that got deliveries from distributors that were not exactly top-tier & they were fine, too. you seem to be fascinated by the idea of eating bugs etc, so i'm sure that it would bum you out to know that not every restaurant is crawling with bugs and rodents, that they don't in fact come in with the bell peppers and get cooked into every other main served to customers-- but that's just nonsense. you may have to get your "protein" in a more direct way! ;-P

                                                                                                        when the fda inspects grain that's infested w insects (more likely weevils than roaches), the shipper gets 3 options-- 1) remove the infested lot 2) get a special grade which states that the grain is infested, & will make it destined for animal feed 3) if it is rough rice etc, they can fumigate the grains to kill the infestation and get a grade after that. so there's your "insect parts" not synonymous w roaches. fruit flies, honeybees, other pollinators etc also can enter the food system. how about some facts to counterbalance the gross-out stories?

                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                          I worked for General Mills, for over a 20 year period , was a division General Manager, so I think I am qualified to speak with "some" knowledge on the subject of food contamination.

                                                                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                            hey, another msp local-- whoodathunk. you should know that climate makes a difference wrt pests, then, and that you can't use such a very broad brush for an entire industry that faces different problems in different regions. how long ago were you w general mills?

                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              NO, NYC OFFICE 78-88 BUT STAYED A LOT IN THE
                                                                                                              NORTH STAR HOTEL, I BELIEVE IT IS GONE NOW, THEN,THE MARQUETTE INN? WAS THE NEWEST PLACE WOW, I AM REACHING BACK!!!! IS LORD FLETCHERS ON THE LAKE STILL GOING STRONG ? SPENT A LOT OF ''GMI'S
                                                                                                              $$$$ THERE!!!!!

                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                It's the Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel. Lord Fletcher's is still going strong. I used to work across the street from the Omni Northstar. If the Marquette was the newest place, it was a while ago for you to spend time in downtown Minneapolis. Did the Marquette have the holstein hide covered chairs in the lobby when you were there? (I used to see them while walking by almost daily).

                                                                                              3. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                Oh, I agree. I grew up with the buggers, and hate 'em. Ridding the planet of 'em, however, is a tough call.

                                                                                                I hate them, but accept that they might intrude on my dining experience, but so long as they are not flying at me, or in my food, or wine, I try to overlook them.

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                              4. I have a friend who is a health inspector. She said roaches happen, even in the cleanest places, especially ones that deal in a lot of flour. To me, it depends on the response from the restaurant--if the server were nonchalant and acted like it happens all the time and shrugs, that would be a problem to me. I have found a live cockroach in a piece of bread--not sure whose fault it was but I couldn't eat any of the sandwiches we bought.

                                                                                                1. Time to resurrect this classic chowhound posting: When the food is moving, what do you do? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/287810

                                                                                                  1. Not as bad as puke in the parking lot.

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                                                                                                    1. re: N2Q

                                                                                                      heh. i always assume someone just had 1 too many at the bar, assuming there's a bar. if there isn't a bar, then a very good point.

                                                                                                    2. If the roach crawls across my food in a non third world country, it goes back. If a roach crawls across my table in a non tropical area I do not go back.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                        If it doesn't kill you in a "third world country," why would you worry in a non-TWC?

                                                                                                      2. Folks, it seems like much of what there is to say about this topic has been said, and it's now getting into people reporting specifics of restaurants where they've encountered roaches which isn't something we allow. We're going to lock the thread.