YBOR CITY, Florida - Management of a well known Ybor City pizza restaurant says bad timing led to a state health inspector's visit on the same day raw sewage backed up into the restaurant, forcing an emergency closure.
Old Manhattan Pizza general manager Malina Salazar says a health inspector happened to be in the area and noticed raw sewage flowing out of the restaurant last Wednesday.
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The state inspector with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation entered the restaurant and confirmed the presence of overflowing sewage, including on a gallon jug of BBQ sauce.
The discovery prompted the state to issue an emergency order, according to the restaurant's January 16th inspection. The restaurant was written up for seven violations, three considered high priority.
The violations included the reach-in cooler soiled with accumulated food residue; pizza boxes and cup lids stored on the floor; and encrusted material on the can opener blade. The inspector also documented rusty or dented cans of asparagus, and ordered the food be thrown out.
Salazar says the asparagus was for personal use and was not intended for sale to the public. She blames the sewage issue on a faulty Tampa city pipe that overflowed, sending "a river of water" through the restaurant.
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"The inspector just happened to be walking by, and came in because she was just doing her job," says Salazar.
She says the restaurant voluntarily closed its doors to clean up after the backup, losing 16 hours of business. "It was not our fault, but the state said it was required to write us up," says Salazar.
An inspector returned the following day and found the restaurant in full compliance with zero violations.
"This had nothing to do with the cleanliness of our restaurant," Salazar tells 10 News. "Thank you for calling to find out what really happened."
You can take a look at Old Manhattan Pizza's full inspection history here.