ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- If Gateway Pizza sounds familiar, it's because we featured the restaurant back in mid-March. The restaurant was closed down by the state and fined $400 after a customer complained she saw a rat running through the dining room. A state inspector showed up and confirmed the finding, discovering rodent droppings in the kitchen, even a live rat near the back door.
"We had one little incident and everything was taken care of immediately and everything is fine right now," said a kitchen manager who would only identify himself as Gary when we visited back in March. "We have absolutely no issues here."
But two months later, the state was back again ordering yet another emergency closure this time after finding live flies in the kitchen and 12 roaches crawling around the dish area.
Last week, we headed back to the restaurant trying to find out what was really going on inside this St. Pete pizza parlor. We wanted to know why time after time this restaurant was written up for many of the same violations, issues like not providing the required health safety training for employees.
"What it is, we've had employees here for a long time. They are well trained, they know what they're doing. These certificates are supposed to be renewed every three years. They weren't renewed after three years, that doesn't all of a sudden make the employee ineffective and unknowledgeable."
We also saw violations for repeatedly not having soap provided at all employee hand sinks.
"There are three sinks for employees to wash their hands," said Gary. "There was soap at two of them. And as soon as she pointed out the third one was missing soap we put soap there immediately."
But customer Joshua Parker says he wants soap at all the restaurant's sinks.
"That's health 101. That's not professional at all. That's pretty gross," said Parker.
Restaurant management had no interest in allowing our camera back into the kitchen.
"We don't let anyone back in the kitchen," said Gary. "We have a new pest control service. We have a guy who has been in business over 30 years, he came in immediately. We changed pest control companies. I can tell you the issue was cleared up."