MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - George Montague loves your business.
He wants to keep it.
That's why he's out in front of what even he describes as a significant roach problem at his Tops Bar-B-Q restaurants (http://www.topsbarbq.com/).
"We have that problem in all of our stores," said Montague. "I think where the problem developed was with the charcoal."
Montague said he believes roaches and their eggs rode into his stores, particularly 1286 Union Ave. in Midtown and 5391 Winchester Rd. near Hickory Hill, on the bags of charcoal delivered by vendors.
The problem is serious enough that several of his customers have e-mailed the Action News 5 Investigators, complaining about their own roach experiences at Tops Bar-B-Q. We've received three in the last month alone.
"A roach ran up the wall, then when we got our food, another roach ran across the table," said Bridget Bell of Frayser, describing her experience at the Winchester location. "These weren't the same size roaches. Some of them were little, and some of them were big. Maybe the momma and the babies, I don't know."
Memphis-Shelby County Health Department records indicated citizens have filed five formal complaints about roaches - three complaints on the Winchester location, two on the Union store - since 2008. Each initiated surprise inspections. According to the records, the two inspections at the Union store revealed no roaches.
But the three at the Winchester store did reveal the presence of roaches.
Otho Sawyer, supervisor of food services for the health department, said despite the complaints and the inspections, no Tops Bar-B-Q location has a roach infestation.
"To me, it's somewhat coincidental when you run into these complaints like this," Sawyer said. "If they have a good sanitary program -- and they do -- well then, the problem should be eliminated."
Montague put a large chunk of the blame on his previous pest control company, whom he said serviced his restaurants for 40 years. He said he just recently fired the company when it replaced a trusted technician with a slacker.
"He didn't do anything," Montague said. "He didn't do his job."
Montague has hired a new pest control company for all 14 of his locations. His latest scores at the Winchester and Union stores are 85 and 95, respectively.
With no roaches.
"I'm happy to have this opportunity to try to repair some of the damage that was done to us at Tops Bar-B-Q because we take pride in the fact that we have one of the cleanest operations in the world," said Montague. "Of course, we've had the best barbecue since 1952, and we still do!"
For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, click here.
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