TAMPA, Fla. — They’re known for their freshly made waffles and super-fast counter side service.  

Except, one Tampa Bay area Waffle House wasn’t serving anything at all last week after a state health inspector shut the place down with high priority health code violations.

The sign on the front window said “breakfast with a smile” and that’s what we found when we first arrived on Wednesday.

Those smiles went away fast when we started asking about the East Fowler Waffle House location’s health inspection from just last week.  

The establishment was temporarily shut down as an emergency closure July 2 with 12 violations.   According to the inspection report, the reach-in cooler shelves were soiled with food debris and the dish machine was not sanitizing at a hot enough temperature. The inspector also documented the presence of insect activity with dead cockroaches under the bread rack and in a cabinet under the coffee maker and more live roaches on the cook line under the steam table.

“I’m kinda grossed out right now,” USF student Angelica Chacon said as she arrived to try out the restaurant.

10News stopped in Wednesday to see if all those roaches were cleaned up.

“Don’t ask me, I don’t want to answer no questions,” one employee who did not want to be identified said. When we mentioned the roach activity the employee repeatedly said, “I don’t care.” 

The restaurant also refused to show us a copy of their latest health inspection report, something they’re required to show the public.

“You do not need to see it,” the manager said.   

Unsure if the kitchen was actually clean, customer Angelica Chacon decided to find a new place to eat.

“I don’t know if I want to eat here anymore. I wouldn’t want to risk it.”

The Fowler Avenue Waffle House was cleared the reopen later the same day.

In a written response the Waffle House Corporate Office said, “We make every effort to provide a clean and safe restaurant for our customers and apologize for letting them down. Our corporate training department and the senior management are involved in ensuring our food safety protocols are in place in this restaurant. We worked with our local environmental vendors to ensure the issue was resolved and have put into place an action plan going forward.”

You can view this Waffle House location’s full inspection history here.

What other people are reading right now:

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.

Have a news tip? Email desk@wtsp.com, or visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.