Dirty Dining: Mexican restaurant shut down again by the state for roaches crawling in the kitchen

CLEARWATER, Fla. - In March 2013, ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan walked inside Gorditas Don Huicho Mexican Restaurant on Drew Street in Clearwater after inspectors shut it down for rodent and roach activity.

At that time, Ryan met Manager Susana Pena, who invited her behind the kitchen doors to show her how they'd handled the rodent problem. That included patching the walls, putting rat traps inside and outside the restaurant and cleaning the kitchen to keep out the roaches.

But now it seems the roach problem has come back. At the beginning of August, state inspectors once again closed Gorditas for 25 hours after seeing live roaches crawling in the kitchen where food was being prepared.

So once again Ryan went back to the restaurant to find out what happened.

"The state shut you down for a roach problem just about two weeks ago for a roach infestation? They found live roaches. See it says facility temporarily closed?" Ryan said to the employee, pointing out the current inspection reports.

In those reports, inspectors spotted live roaches on the cooks line, three-compartment sink, prep table, reach-in cooler gaskets and storage shelf as well as dead roaches on the premises.

So Ryan asked again for Pena, the manager, and the employee went to get her. But the employee came back saying Pena did not have time to talk to us.

"Does she want to give us a statement of what they've done?" Ryan asked that female employee.

"I don't think so," the employee responded.
The employee went on to say she couldn't speak for the restaurant and Pena was simply not available.
But inspectors had plenty to say in August, finding milk, cheese and beans all at dangerous temperatures that could make customers sick. They also found employees failing to wash their hands and other employees not having required food safety training.

But we left with no explanation.

"She doesn't want to talk to us?" Ryan asked again.

"She's busy now," the employee said again.

Ryan left her business card with the employee and called the restaurant several times to see if Pena wanted to give us a statement, but Pena never returned her calls.

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