“We’ve been here for 40 years,” said Galantino, owner and manager of Gino's Restaurant and Bar on North Armenia Avenue in Tampa.
Galantino explained that four decades ago, his father opened the restaurant, so he worked here as a kid. And it was shocking when state inspectors closed his doors recently.
"I know the state just shut you down last week?" asked ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan.
"Yeah, they sure did. Just for a day. It's all on me. It's my fault. I apologize," Galantino said..
Inspectors found over a dozen live roaches near the prep table, cooks line and microwave, but Galantino said he handled it right away.
"In fact, the pest control guy was just here, doing his routine inspection again," Galantino said.
In just two days in April, 55 violations were discovered by food safety inspectors including employees not washing their hands, no soap, no hot water, no paper towels, no certified food service manager on duty and employees not properly trained.
"They've been all corrected. We've taken care of them as they came up," Galantino said.
Over the past year, other violations cited by the state included rodent activity. In 2013 state inspectors found a dead rodent, rodent rub marks along walls and ceilings, 50 rodent droppings under the dishwashing area and 20 to 30 more near the service drink area.
"We have a very old building here. I've been doing some construction work to it recently and I guess that's what caused some openings in the building. But those have all been corrected," Galantino said.
He added that he's spending more than $12,000 to repair the aging building and now hopes to put this latest inspection behind him.
"We're taking care of the things that need to be taken care of and taking the steps to be in full compliance with the health department," Galantino said.
"And it's safe to eat here?" asked Ryan.
"Absolutely, always has been," Galantino said emphatically.