SAFETY HARBOR, Florida- Downtown Safety Harbor is known for its small shops and restaurants. Among them is Captain's Pizza at 324 Main Street.
"They have good pizza and they've been around forever," said Noorddin Kachai.
But not everyone is a fan.
"Most recently when I went there... I wouldn't go back," said Theresa Broughton as she shook her head.
In fact, earlier this month someone filed a complaint claiming the "food tasted spoiled and smelled terrible" and that there was even a "dog in the restaurant."
The state went in to check things out. The inspector documented a staggering 72 critical violations over four days of inspections in mid-September. Among the problems:
- Cut up melons found with a mold like growth on the prep table
- Temperature violations with the butter
- Raw egg found leaking into the cooked pasta
- Employees with dirty hands
- Preparing food without washing hands
- Cigarette ashes found on the prep table
- Slime and soil in the ice machine
- Grease pooled under fryer
- More than 200 rodent droppings on the dish machine, under the grill, and on counters near glasses at the server station
- Roaches in dining room and kitchen
In addition, management could not show proof employees had been properly trained in food safety.
"Well, it's horrifying," said Dely Larson. "It's just terrible and I'm glad you said that because I probably won't go in there now."
We wanted to see if this long list of violations was corrected, so we stopped by Captain's Pizza, but as of Wednesday afternoon the restaurant remained closed.
In fact, problems were so bad the state forced the restaurant to close twice this month. Joyce Monturse is a longtime friend with the restaurant's owner.
"He's been a really good community supporter," said Monturse. "As of late, he's had some health issues. He's been doing his best to stay on top of things, but he's been hospitalized several times."
In fact, several people confirm the owner fell, breaking his hip while trying to clean up the problems. And while those we talked to were saddened by the news, some feel the restaurant should remain closed until everything is brought up to code.
"I don't want to eat that kind of food and get sick," said Larson.
"[Those are] things you shouldn't have to think about when you're going to pay for food at a restaurant," said Broughton.
The building maintenance man told 10 News the restaurant may remain closed for good.