EXCLUSIVE | Roaches, unsanitary conditions found at Pearl Oyster Grill in Dover Downs


A health inspection found roaches and unsanitary conditions at Pearl Oyster Grill restaurant in Dover Downs following a complaint to the Delaware Office of Food Protection.

What was supposed to be a romantic night out for a young Dover couple turned into a unpleasant ordeal after they dined at Pearl Oyster in Dover Downs and witnessed a roach crawl across the bar.

Melissa Laurie, of Dover, says she and her boyfriend had just ordered food Sunday evening at the bar located inside Pearl Oyster at Dover Downs when they spotted a roach crawling across the counter of the bartop directly in front of them.

In an interview with WGMD’s Rob Petree, Laurie explained…

“The bartender told us that the meal would be out in a couple minutes, at which point we saw a roach run across the bartop,” Laurie said. “My boyfriend then proceeded to catch it with his napkin, got the bartender’s attention and handed it to her and advised her that there was a roach in the napkin. She was like ‘is it dead?’ and he just kinda looked at her like ‘I’m not opening the napkin to find out, here handle it.'”

Laurie and her boyfriend refused to eat their entrees and decided to leave. The restaurant fully comped the drinks and appetizers they’d already consumed.

The next morning Laurie submitted a complaint directly to the Division of Public Health (DPH) Office of Food Protection, who sent an inspector to investigate the conditions of the restaurant on Thursday.

According to the report, several roaches were spotted during the course of the inspection. “Three roaches at the bar, by both handwash sinks, and on the floor,” the report stated. “Observed fruit flies at the bar and in the kitchen prep area.”

The restaurant has taken steps to address the problem prior to the complaint, according to the report. Earlier this month, a pest control company sprayed for roaches but a majority of the treatment was focused on flies and rodent control.

Moving forward, the restaurant was ordered to increase their roach treatment by a licensed pest control management company to at least once a month and eliminate all standing water and other conditions that contribute to the problem.

Pearl Oyster Grill underwent a routine health inspection in June that found no violations at the time.

WGMD reached out to Pearl Oyster Grill and Dover Downs.

Dover Downs issued the following response, calling the incident “unfortunate.”

“Pearl Oyster Grill underwent a full health inspection by Delaware’s Public Health Department following this August 17th complaint in which we fully passed the inspection and remain open. Similar to other food-service establishments, we have regularly scheduled maintenance and mitigation programs in place by licensed, professional management companies and will continue to have these services and treatments on a regular basis. It is very unfortunate that Mrs. Laurie and her guest saw a bug during their visit. However, we did everything possible to accommodate them that night and to ensure our restaurant is sanitary for all of our guests moving forward. The state of Delaware has deemed it to be so, so we look forward to continuing to serve our guests.”