ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- A month after a state inspector temporarily shut down the popular Ceviche restaurant in downtown St. Pete, the company says it is hiring an independent food safety inspection company to evaluate the chain's kitchens.
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant was shut down for just about 24 hours in early April after the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation documented 15 violations, four considered high priority. Among the problems listed on the report were temperature violations of the pork and seafood; an employee not properly washing their hands; and roach activity, with 25 live roaches written up by the inspector found crawling around the kitchen.
As a result of the bad inspection and the loss of business that followed, the restaurant cleaned house, hiring a new management team. The company also enlisted the help of an independent food safety inspection company, which will begin inspecting each Ceviche location and assigning a letter grade, which will then be posted on the front door.
The company released the following statement Tuesday:
"Ceviche has proactively engaged the nation's leading third party food safety inspection company to demonstrate our commitment to exceeding standards set by the State. We challenge other restaurants to do the same. We want the community to be confident that the Ceviche brand is committed to providing the best dining experience in Tampa Bay."
Customers outside the restaurant Tuesday night applauded the decision.
Ceviche has still not responded to a request by 10 News to inspect the kitchen for ourselves.
Check back to wtsp.com/redalert to see how Ceviche does on future state inspections.