Dirty Dining: Popular Jazzy's BBQ restaurant temporarily shut down for improper food temperatures

TAMPA, Fla. - We found plenty of fans of the food at Jazzy's BBQ on West Waters Avenue in Tampa.

"It's really good. There's not too many places you can get good southern-style barbecue," said Roosevelt Jones, a loyal customer.

"It's definitely the sauce!  It's the sauce," Gary Jones said with enthusiasm.
 
And DJ Hunter, who visits regularly said, "You have to wait 15 to 20 minutes for that cornbread to come fresh out of the oven, but it's definitely worth it."

But state inspectors might feel differently.

"I've been here 13 years and I've been in business 16 years.  I should know what to do by now, don't you think?" said Jazzy's owner Johnny Smith said to ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan, when she arrived at his eatery.

Smith is a seasoned restaurateur, so when the state closed his doors for 18 hours in June, he was shocked.  
 
"I didn't think we should have been shut down," Smith said.

According to the latest inspection report, the state ordered Jazzy's to throw out over 116 pounds of ribs, pork roast, brisket, beans, potato salad and butter because the walk-in cooler was not functioning properly, leaving food at a dangerously warm temperature. Smith disagrees.

"It's not broken. Never was broken," Smith explains.

Still Smith just purchased a new cooler after inspectors issued four stop sales in two years because of temperature violations.

"There has been a history of stop sales that they've given you," Ryan noted to Smith.

"They always tell me I have to throw something out when they come in here and it's for the same reason, my cooler," Smith responded.

But the handling of the food has also been documented recently.

In January inspectors found food stored on the floor, food not date-marked, and food not properly cooled, all repeat violations.

But Smith says he's constantly overseeing his employees and constantly making improvements, like buying a new rotisserie.

"If I have to throw it away, I probably shouldn't even be in business," Smith said.

Meanwhile, customers we met are not phased about what inspectors have written up. They say the proof is in the quality of Jazzy's BBQ.

"This is the best!  I live in Pinellas County so I drive all the way over here," customer Gary said.

"Just for the food?" asked Ryan.

"Oh yes," Gary responded.

And DJ feels the same way.  "It's definitely hot and fresh! They cook it right there in front of you. You get what you pay for.  It's great food."

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