SEMINOLE, Fla. — Longtime customers rave about the food at Osaka Sushi and Thai Restaurant.
“We’ve been going to Osaka for many years,” said Carol Reed. “It’s the best sushi I’ve ever had.”
The restaurant moved to this new location on Park Boulevard last October passing their initial inspection. But last week, the state uncovered some major problems, ordering an emergency closure May 11th with 31 violations. The issues included food stored on the floor, temperature violations on the raw shrimp and cooked fish, and live roaches including 4 in the sushi bar with roach excrement found on a wooden spatula.
“I didn’t have a clue,” said Reed shocked to hear the news.
So 10Investigates decided to stop in, asking for permission to check out the kitchen.
“Um, no, we can’t,” said an employee when we first arrived. But longtime kitchen manager Suzie Vazquez encouraged bosses to allow our cameras inside.
“I told my boss, I said 'let them in, we have nothing to hide',” said Vazquez.
Vazquez says last week’s closure was the restaurant’s first ever major issue.
“I was just like 'Ughhh, it’s a shame'. For me it’s a shame.”
She says staff immediately got to work cleaning up and was eager to take us around the kitchen where we found hand washing sinks fully stocked with soap and paper towels for employees to clean their hands.
We also checked the area around the sushi bar where the health inspector reported finding roaches a week earlier. In fact, we searched the entire kitchen -- high and low and found no evidence of any lingering insect issues.
We did however spot a few other problems including some food stored on the food, a repeat violation. Health inspectors require food be stored at least 6 inches off the ground. We also found the walk-in cooler badly leaking with standing water pooling on the floor, something pest control experts say can attract cockroaches.
“The freezer had a problem and we called them last week,” said Vazquez.
But overall we’re happy to report huge improvements from a week earlier which was good news for customers.
“It makes me feel good,” said Reed.
Based on our visit, 10News gives Osaka Sushi the “A-OK” issuing the all clear on this week’s Restaurant Red Alert.
Health inspectors will be back in the coming weeks to ensure previous issues don’t reoccur.