Behind the Kitchen Door: Restaurant tries covering up health department closure

11:31 PM, Mar 7, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. - This week, 10 News visited China Jade on Gunn Highway in Carrollwood. The Chinese take-out restaurant has a history of roach problems and critical health code violations. The problems were so bad the state was forced to shut the establishment down for several days at the end of February until the roach problem could be brought under control.

We visited China Jade last week and almost instantly spotted what appeared to be a roach behind the front counter. It was hardly a surprise. In June of last year, inspectors documented finding 10 live roaches under a cooler and another 200 dead roaches throughout the kitchen.

In October, 100 more roaches were documented on shelves and floors.

At the end of February, the inspector documented 50 live roaches throughout the kitchen. It was enough to finally trigger a temporary, emergency 3-day closure.

When 10 News stopped by, restaurant staff didn't want to talk about the problems.

"Would you be willing to let me come back with the camera and look in the kitchen now?" asked reporter Beau Zimmer.

"No," the employee stated. When we asked why, we were told they didn't have the time to talk to us.

But a customer waiting for her food refused to be blown off. She demanded a refund after overhearing our conversation with management.

"I want to know if it's clean or not. I just ordered and if they don't want to let you back [there], I don't want to buy my food here," said Sarah Goldberg.

Worse yet, when the state closes down a restaurant they post a bright orange sign on the front entrance to alert the public of the potential health concern. 10 News has learned employees covered up those signs with menus and a hand written note blaming the closure on running out of gas.

In broken English, an employee told 10 News, "Before I don't know it's legal."

And while employees say they didn't know the rules, customers like Sarah Goldberg say that's no excuse.

"People should know what's in these kitchens. You can get sick from it!"

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