TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Jeff Uren and his wife live full time in Las Vegas, but he's a regular in the sunshine state.
"You've been around these parts before?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.
"Oh yeah," Jeff said.
Ryan met Jeff while in Tarpon Springs, after learning the state temporarily closed the doors of Dimitri's On The Water Restaurant on Dodecanese Blvd.
"This place was shut down for 26 hours. They are back open now. But they've had a history of food safety issues," Ryan explained to Jeff.
"I'm sure after you make the public aware of this, they'll either take care of it or they won't be here anymore," Jeff said.
On August 28, inspectors found over 20 live and dead roaches in the kitchen on the cooks line, near the drink area, on the shelves and walk in cooler.
So Ryan went inside this peaceful restaurant on the water to get some answers. And she met the owner Andy Salivaras.
"Do you want to talk to us outside?" Ryan asked Salivaras.
"I don't talk to you today. I don't have time to talk to you," Salivaras said.
"Do you want to give me a written statement?" Ryan went on to ask.
"I don't give you no statement," Salivaras said emphatically.
But it's not the first time the state has returned to Dimitri's for food safety issues. Over the last year inspectors came back four other times for follow up inspections, after finding the manager on duty not certified, employees not properly trained, cross contamination violations and no soap in the kitchen for employees to wash their hands.
Salivaras did not want to answer any of Ryan's other questions either.
"We just want to talk to you about your inspection reports and what the state found," Ryan explained.
"You know what they found," Salivaras said.
"Right, what you've done to clean things up?" Ryan pressed again.
"I don't want to talk to you!" Salivaras yelled. He then directed Ryan and her photographer out of the restaurant.
Jeff is now hesitant to return to Dimitri's.
"They're not going to allow you to go and inspect it yourself, take you into the kitchen and let you look and see what you think. So yeah, it's a tough decision," Jeff said.
Dimitri's On The Water Statement:
"We sincerely apologize for any issues associated with Dimitri's.
We immediately took extreme measures- beyond the Health Department's request- and closed our restaurant for 3 days to refurbish, clean and sanitize our entire kitchen. We completely replaced a kitchen wall with tile to get to the root of the problem and make it right. We have also increased extermination.
The stress on our family has been intense lately, as Andy and his son, the owners, have both been ill.
They are both back now and prepared to keep the restaurant running better than ever.
We can now proudly say we are open and in good standing with the Health Department and with our customers. "
--The Salivaras Family
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