Restaurant owner after closure: 'I don't want to be on TV!'

TAMPA, Florida -- 10 News has found some pretty unusual things inside Bay area restaurants, but what was seen this week was a first.

As 10 News walked into China Gate, 12049 Anderson Road, Tampa, there was an apparent employee "lifting weights" instead of cooking in the kitchen. This, just a week after health inspectors found a long list of health code violations while investigating a possible case of food poisoning. Two customers filed a complaint describing abdominal cramps, nausea and other symptoms hours after ordering chicken with pork fried rice.

"I heard there was bugs, a lot of bugs so to me that is enough to keep me away or like never go back," said former customer Briana Sagardia.

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And she's not far off. State inspection reports show a history of bug issues. The restaurant shut down July 29 as an emergency closure with 31 violations including 50 live roaches that scattered throughout the kitchen when the inspector reported lifting a cardboard box. There were also temperature violations on the egg rolls, pork and chicken nuggets found between 72 to 77 degrees and no soap for employees to wash their hands, all health code violations that could lead to customers getting sick.

10 News stopped in asking if the owner would be willing to explain what was done to get some of the health code violations corrected.

"No," said a man who identified himself as the owner.

When asked for a copy of the restaurant's latest health inspection: "I don't have it," the owner said. "I don't have it with me. Am I being interviewed right now?"

When we explained we were conducting the interview for our report on the restaurant's previous health inspection problems, he said, "I don't want to be on TEEEVEEEE ... I don't want to be on TV … come on."

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When asked once again for a copy of the latest health inspection, something every restaurant in Florida is required by law to provide the public when asked, 10 News was told the leave the restaurant.

Outside 10 News shared a copy of the inspection report obtained from the state with customers.

When asked if she knew about the previous problems, a mother who had just purchased dinner to share with her young son said she was not.

"No, I did not know that," she said. "I will be throwing this food away and getting something else because I'm going to be feeding it to my kid."

China Gate was cleared to reopen the following day with 8 remaining violations.

You can see China Gate's full inspection history here.


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