Several San Francisco restaurants battle cockroach infestations

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Several restaurants in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood have been dealing with cockroach infestation, causing the Department of Public Health to shut them down until they've fixed the problem.

The most recent shutdown took place Tuesday when a health inspector closed Sliders Diner, just steps from the historic Castro Theater.

KTVU obtained the inspection report for Sliders. It contained photos of the cockroaches found in various parts of the restaurant including food preparation and storage areas.

"I eat out about three times a week," said Stan Stone who lives in the Castro. He says he no longer eats at a nearby restaurant with a similar name.

The Health Department closed Slider Bar twice; the first time was last fall.

"They let us reopen in two days and we just did a bomb. We got rid of the cockroaches, but they came back because this is a very old building," said Jo Turner, a manager with Slider Bar.  

The health department closed the restaurant a second time in May for a week when cockroaches were found again. Slider Bar says it hired different exterminators to stop the problem.

"Now we're on a watch so any of us see a bug, that night they come in and take care of the problem immediately," said Turner.

The Castro Merchants Association says there are various reasons for the cockroach problems some restaurants are facing.

"We had a lot of construction going on in the last year. These buildings are old. The drought... certainly not having any rain... cold weather increases insects," said Daniel Bergerac, president of the Castro Merchants Association.

Eureka Coffee and Ice Cream, which shares a building with Sliders, scored a 100 on a health department inspection. The owner Bill Singleton says he's diligent about cleanliness.

"I think it's very hard to bounce back from a closure like that because you've lost the respect and trust of your customers," said Singleton.

"There's really no excuse for it," said Stone who also added that once a restaurant has been shut down by the health department, he would never patronize it again.

Sliders is closed indefinitely.

The health department inspection report lists all the things the restaurant must do before it will be allowed to reopen.