Dirty Dining: China House temporarily shut down for 50+ live & dead roaches in the kitchen

Posted at 10:59 PM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 23:26:16-04

Teri Casner picks up Chinese food at China House in Brooksville for her parents a couple times a month.

But what she didn't know?

"This particular restaurant was recently shut down by the state because of a roach problem," ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan told her.

"Oh your kidding me!" Teri exclaimed.

But we weren't kidding.

China House at 13074 Cortez Blvd was forced to close on March 30 for 24-hours after inspectors saw over 50 live and dead roaches on the wall, on top of the refrigerator, near the restrooms and all over the kitchen.

"It's concerning though right?" Ryan asked.

"It is shocking! My parents have been eating here for years," Teri explained.

So Ryan went inside to get some answers and met employee Jenny Chen, who said she'd been working at China House for two years.

Chen also admitted she has seen roaches.

"After the pest control comes, you see the dead roaches?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah because they put the stuff on there," Chen answered.

"To kill them?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah, we saw them like that," she answered.  

But the I-Team uncovered that inspectors found other issues, including food at dangerous temperatures.

And when asked, Chen explained what happened.

"We cooking so we have to open/close and open/close and the temperature at about 39-40. That is not too bad," she said.  

But the inspection report tells a different story with noodles at 44°, chicken at 45°, pork at 47°, shrimp at 49°, shell eggs at 73°, and garlic and oil at 87°.  

All cold food should be held at 41-degrees or below.

And during the prior inspection in July, the state discovered rodent activity with rodent rub marks along the walls and ceilings, rodent nesting materials and five holes in the kitchen, allowing rodents to get inside.

So who's running the restaurant?

"The owner but she not here," Chen said.

"Is there a manager on duty?" Ryan asked.

"No, just me and him," referring to the cook in the kitchen.

This despite inspectors just documenting employees not having 'required state approved training' during their last visit.

Other serious violations documented last month include raw chicken over egg rolls, a cross contamination issue. Sauces stored on the floor.  And egg rolls, vegetables and cooked chicken held more than 24 hours and not properly date marked.

And even with 122 violations reported over the last eight months, Chen still feels the restaurant is safe.

"Do you feel like the place is clean?" Ryan asked.

"Yes I saw. It's fine," Chen replied.

But it might be too late for Teri.

"Do you think you'd come back?" Ryan asked.

"Probably not and I doubt my parents will either, once I call them up and tell them," Teri said.  

Meantime, Ryan gave Chen her card and Chen said the owner named "Neen" would call her but she never did.

So Ryan left several messages for Neen, but she never returned her calls.