TAMPA - According to state records, Pho Quyen Vietnamese Cuisine on East Fowler Avenue in Tampa was shut down for two days October 27 and October 28 because of a roach infestation.
But new general manager Binh Bui has worked at the restaurant for just a few weeks.
"Have you cleaned things up? Were you aware of the problem?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.
"Yes, we cleaned everything up. We are very clean right now," Bui answered.
During that October visit, the inspector documented roach fecal waste along with 43 live and dead roaches throughout the kitchen. That included finding roaches under the cookline table, prep sink, around the hot water heater, behind the ice machine, in the storage area, and under the bar sink.
But Bui says a new owner is trying to buy the place and turn things around.
"As a new manager coming in, did you know that they had 39 critical violations over the last year? Were you aware of the conditions in the kitchen?" asked Ryan.
"Yes, I heard about that. But I'm trying to improve the restaurant," Bui said.
Also in that October report, inspectors found no proof of required employee training, raw pork stored over washed vegetables - which can lead to cross contamination - and food stored on the floor.
"We fixed everything," said Nga Nguyen, who is also a manager.
Nguyen says she's been with the restaurant for 4 years and was there when inspectors closed their doors. Nguyen claims they immediately took action.
"Sanitizing, all the plumbing system, whatever he want us to do to fix the problems, and we do everything," Nguyen said.
But this isn't the first time Pho Quyen has had a roach problem.
On October 9, 2009 inspectors found live roaches under the cookline.
"So did you know there was a roach problem?" asked Ryan.
"I think in every restaurant they have roaches," Nguyen said.
Bui says things are different now.
"Food is very good and the kitchen very clean," Biu.
And Nguyen agrees.
"What's the condition of the kitchen now? What would you tell people?" asked Ryan.
"It's good right now," Nguyen said.
Email received from Nga Nguyen:
My name is ThienNga Nguyen from PhoQuyen cuisine . The new ownership is on the paper work process. The old owner is retired. Im writing this email to confirm that our restaurant now is very clean. We're the new managed team, and we 're always put out food safety number 1 priority. Every employee in our restaurant has been trained well already. as my promise will keep this restaurant very clean as it could.
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