Fired employee fires back with video of cockroaches inside popular downtown Portillo’s

CHICAGO -- A recently fired Portillo’s employee isn’t leaving the fast food franchise quietly.

Antwoine Johnson shared video with WGN Investigates that he said he and other employees recorded inside Portillo’s River North location at 100 W. Ontario in downtown Chicago.

The video shows cockroaches inside the restaurant.

“I started seeing roaches,” Johnson said .  “We reported it to the managers and some were like, ‘Just brush it along and to keep on going.’ I thought it was a problem and I reported it every time, but there was nothing done about it.”

Johnson’s video appeared to show several cockroaches scurrying along a frozen custard machine.  Other images appear to show several insects scurrying along an empty food preparation station.

Chicago health inspectors gave the Portillo’s location a passing grade during their last review in April.  However, inspectors noted the presence of several cockroaches during a 2016 inspection.

“We take restaurant cleanliness and the well-being of our team members very seriously,” Portillo’s spokesperson Nick Scarpino said . “We use nationally-recognized Ecolab for pest control at least twice per month – far more often than the industry standard.”

In response to the WGN Investigates story, pest control personnel have been to the location twice in the last week.  City health officials did not respond to questions about whether inspectors would revisit the restaurant.

A Portillo’s spokesperson said Johnson threw a chair during a meeting with managers upon his termination earlier this month.

Johnson said he was terminated for taking too much time off after his mother and brother died over the Christmas holiday.

Johnson denies previously being a disgruntled employee.

“I loved working for them,” Johnson said.  “If I see something wrong I will report it.”

 

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