Old Manhattan Pizza was temporarily closed down by the state after inspectors found 51 violations, 14 considered High Priority.
YBOR CITY, Florida- Popular with late night crowds in the heart of Ybor City, Old Manhattan Pizza was previously voted "Best of the Bay." But a former employee of the popular 7th Avenue restaurant has a different take, calling the restaurant one of the worst he's ever seen.
"So bad that I got disgusted and quit," said Michael Williams, who told 10 News he worked at the restaurant as a pizza maker before quitting this past month.
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Before he left, Williams filed a complaint with the state saying he saw rats and roaches crawling around the restaurant. He also used his camera phone to document the alleged conditions himself.
"There it is. Live roach on the pizza station," Williams can be heard yelling on his cell phone video released exclusively to 10 News.
"Disgusting! To see one crawl across my station... I couldn't do it," he said.
Williams shot video that appears to be directly underneath where the pizza is stored, showing cups in filthy conditions he said are used for customers' drinks.
"Look at the filth in this f****** place," exclaimed a disgusted Williams.
The video shows a kitchen infested with roaches. Inside of the refrigeration unit, Williams shot video of what he says is old meat stored above fresh produce. That's a potential violation because the meat can drip bacteria and blood onto the ready-to-eat food below.
"Old nasty moldy meat. Just so you guys could see that up close," Williams narrated on the video.
Perhaps the most shocking of all- one clip of video shows a piece of pizza Williams says was brought back to the counter by a customer complaining of maggots.
"See the maggot crawling on the pizza... there's another one around here."
And if you're thinking the video is too disgusting to be real, have a look at what a state health inspector found days after Williams filed a complaint. The inspection report lists 51 violations filling almost 4 pages. Violations include evidence of roach activity, flying insects, time temperature violations and fresh rodent droppings.
"I wouldn't eat the food," warned Williams. "You're taking a risk!"
Old Manhattan Pizza was allowed to reopen the day following their closure after meeting state inspection standards with seven violations. October was the second time the restaurant had been shut down by the state in 2013.
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We were eventually able to reach the owner, Wagner Valverde after an employee told us he did not wish to speak to us by telephone. Valverde told us he was not available to do an on-camera interview anytime this week, but did invite us into his kitchen for a tour next week. He says he was unaware of any video shot in his kitchen.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News