TAMPA, Florida - China Buffet on East Fowler Avenue has a following of loyal fans, each with their favorite items on the menu.

"I just eat the sushi ... the sushi and the crawfish, because I'm from New Orleans," said customer Michelle Kirlew.

"Just the fried chicken and the rice ... I don't pick up too much of anything else because I don't know what it is," said LaShawn Marion, another customer on her way to her car with a box of take-out.

But even these regulars feel the popular Asian restaurant isn't always up to par.

"We've had a couple complaints," said Kirlew. "My husband, he really doesn't like the smell and the upkeep of the bathrooms and stuff."

She's not alone. In February, another customer filed a complaint alerting state inspectors that the buffet was cold, and that food was, at best, lukewarm.

"The times that I've come here, I've always had to ask the people, the cooks in the back, could I get something fresh, because I never like the temperature of the food on the buffet," said Kirlew.

The complaint triggered a visit from the state. An inspector documented 68 violations, eight considered high priority on the restaurant's February 18th inspection.

Among the issues were:

  • Cans of food found dented or rusted
  • Temperature violations on the clams, mussels, oysters, and sweet and sour chicken
  • Food stored uncovered or on the ground
  • Employees not properly washing their hands, and not using soap
  • Soil residue in food storage containers
  • A black or green mold-like substance inside the ice machine
  • A spray bottle containing a toxic substance unlabeled
  • No proof of employee training

The state was back again March 4th and found 36 MORE violations; China Buffet racked up a grand total of 104 violations over their last two inspections.

"I never would have thought they would have that many violations," said a shocked Kirlew. "I hope they get it right, but I won't be back."

The restaurant remained open this week, so we stopped in, trying to find out how many of the violations have been corrected.

"I'm sorry, I'm not very good English," said an employee, who identified himself only as the manager when asked about the previous problems.

We asked for permission to take a look in the kitchen.

"Oh, no ... because we have to report to my boss," the manager said. When asked if we could reach the owner by phone, we were told he was in China and not available.

An attorney for the restaurant eventually asked us to leave, but not before customers sounded off about all the violations.

"I bet they wouldn't [show you back in the kitchen.] If they have this many violations, I'm pretty sure they weren't too happy," said Kirlew. "But I'm glad I was here tonight. It's a blessing I was here tonight, because I won't be back."

View China Buffet's complete inspection history here.

Related:10 Nastiest restaurants in 2012

Outrageous Restaurant Red Alert reports:

Band Aid Soup:Customer served soup - with a band aid in it!

Terrible 10:10 Tampa Bay restaurants with the WORST critical violations

Ceiling Roaches:McDonalds cited when roach falls from ceiling onto diner's food

Finger in salad:Pizza customer claims there was a fingertip in his salad

Baked Roaches:Roaches found baked into Pizza Supreme

More Restaurant Red Alert Reports:

Classic Homestyle Buffet, Tampa 1/11/12

Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12

Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12

CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12

China Express, Brandon 2/8/12

Daiquiri Deck, Maderia Beach 2/15/12

Athenian Garden, Tyrone Area, St. Pete 2/22/12

Bob Evans (Ulmerton Road), Pho 97 (Pinellas Park), Kobe Japanese Steak House (New Tampa)2/29/12

China Jade, Carrollwood, 3/7/12

Nicki's West 59th (Bradenton), Top's China Buffet (Brandon), 400 Beach (St. Petersburg)3/14/12

Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille(Ybor City) 3/21/12

Sandy's Restaurant, Indian Rocks Beach 3/28/12

You may also like...

Molly's bad, m'kay?Doctors warn parents about Molly

That's NUTS!Squirell causes massive outage at Tampa water plant

Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures

Mommy no-no: Mom arrested for going to school assembly - TOPLESS!

Sex tape scandal:Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns

Prostitute Roundup:78 arrested in online sex sting

No strippers for junior:Mom arrested for hiring strippers for son's 16th birthday

Shake it:Harlem shake - 10 News style...

Special delivery: Dad delivers baby with 911 help

Sex blog:Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*

BUSTED:Woman apologizes for flipping off judge*warning, GRAPHIC*

Nasty Nasty Dining:10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012

Cover Girl:Kate Upton back on the cover of Sports Illustrated

APP-tastic:Download the 10 News app for your iPad

Yowtch!Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle

Bikini Photos:2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash

Sex Offender Mugshots:Look up Florida Sex Offenders here

Bikinis, mud, trucks:The Redneck Yacht Club

Photos:Ex-Charlie Sheen Goddess Bree Olson

Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures

Outrageous mug shot galleries...

Strange:Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen

Notorious Women:Bad girls behind bars

Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots

Celebrities:The rich and famous have their own booking photos

Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots

Laughers:What's so funny mug shots

Prostitutes:Prostitute mug shots

Athletes:Professional athlete mug shots

Porn arrests:Child porn arrest mug shots

Local Mugs:Hillsborough County Mug shots

More unusual mug shots and galleries:10 News slideshows and galleries

Read or Share this story: http://on.wtsp.com/1fN8vbU