Seffner, Florida- It may not look like much from the outside, but talk to locals in the Seffner area of Hillsborough County and you'll find out Village Restaurant on East Martin Luther King has plenty of regulars.
"You have the same crowd, every morning, there's 25 couples and they eat there 6 days a week," said Dave Peterson who works next door.
But earlier this month, those customers had to find a new place to eat after the state shut this restaurant down September 4th as a temporary emergency closure.
During their inspection, the state documented 31 violations, nine of which were high priority.
Among the violations were live flies in the kitchen, small flying insects in the food prep area, and live roaches- with 10 inside the dish machine and 5 under the oven. The inspector also reported finding evidence of employees feeding stray animals at the kitchen's back door, and temperature violations on the lasagna, eggs, ham, mayo, onions, cheese and burgers.
Photos: See photos of the Village Restaurant here
The violations continued with mold found growing on raisins, sour kraut and even the pickles. The inspector ultimately issued a stop sale, and ordered 14 pounds and 5 quarts of food to be thrown out.
"Well I'll make sure I'm not going back for a while," said customer Chris Etchison. "Until they get straightened out, because it don't sound too healthy."
The state allowed Village Restaurant to reopen the following day after meeting inspection standards, but we wanted to see what things looked like in the kitchen now. We stopped in.
After arriving, we were asked to wait outside, so we took a look around back for any of sign of those stray animals being fed at the back door. Instead, we ran into a female employee who didn't want to be on camera, but eventually told us the owner wanted us to come back later.
"We don't let anyone in our kitchen because it is a safety hazard," the employee told us when we asked for permission to look inside.
Customers didn't like hearing the restaurant's kitchen wasn't open for inspection.
"Well that's not good," said Etchison. "They shouldn't have anything to hide. I'm a business man myself and you have to be straight up and honest."
Previous inspection reports show last year the restaurant was operating for months without its state required license, and as recently as May with no proof of food manager certification or required employee training.
The owner of the restaurant never returned our calls.
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Beau Zimmer, 10 News