BBQ chain with 2 failing health inspections

TAMPA, Florida— Customers say they love Sonny's for their smoked BBQ and generous portions at a great price.

"I had the rib sampler," said a smiling Darlene Blue as she left the restaurant with a smile. "It was divine. I couldn't even eat it all."

But when we visited the Sonny's in Brandon back in April, customers weren't too happy to find out the restaurant was shut down with roaches and close to 275 rodent droppings throughout the kitchen, some even on the cutting board.

Now just over a month later, 10 News has uncovered more problems for two Bay area Sonny's locations, both shut down due to roaches.

We stopped into the Busch Blvd. location in Tampa, one of the locations shut down back in May, where we shared the news with customers.

"That's a concern," said Terri Michael who was attending a graduation party at the Busch Blvd Sonny's. "I don't want roaches in my food!"

The Busch Blvd. Sonny's racked up 27 violations on their May 20 inspection, with temperature violations on the cheese, milk, creamer and sour cream found at greater than 41 degrees and the reach in cooler not maintaining proper temperature. The inspector also documented live roaches under the cook's line, by the slicer and on the exterior of the smoker.

"Once you lose my trust, it's gone," said Blue who was no longer smiling after we shared the news. "I won't eat there anymore. I won't frequent there anymore just because I know you don't care enough to invest in giving the quality care people pay for," she said.

Sonny's staff would not allow our camera in the kitchen, but their corporate office did send us a written statement saying they "were disappointed to hear about the health code violations…" which were "corrected promptly." The statement went on to say Sonny's was "launching a thorough investigation to understand why this offense occurred."

Read the Busch Blvd. written statement here

Read the South Florida Ave. Lakeland written statement here

The Sonny's on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland also had an emergency closure in May with roaches running around the dish machine according to state inspection records.

Sonny's corporate office confirmed all three Sonny's locations shut down in recent months are owned by the same person.
All three locations are now back open after meeting state inspection standards, the Brandon location with a perfect score on their follow up May 29.

You can take a look at Sonny's full inspection history below:

Busch Blvd, Tampa

South Florida Avenue, Lakeland

Adamo Drive, Tampa

You can search for other Sonny's locations by visiting the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants here.


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