RUSKIN, Florida - Nestled within a nature preserve southeast of downtown Tampa, Cypress Creek is known for its lush landscape and great golf. The Cypress Creek Club House is also popular, serving up meals six days a week.
"It's got a very nice neighborhood feel," said Cypress Creek resident Len Foster. "I enjoy the people who work here and the people who come here."
But on August 2, The Cypress Creek Golf Club Restaurant was temporarily shut down by the state after an inspector found insect activity throughout the kitchen: roaches crawling around in the dish storage area, on the cook line steam table, and under the shelf where aprons are held.
"You know there are bugs everywhere," said Cypress Creek member John Kohler. "We're in Florida, so I think that was probably just an insect problem."
But the inspector found other issues as well, eight critical violations, including dirty doors on the reach-in cooler, an employee touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands, and a toxic item stored in the food prep area. We found many of the same repeat violations, including roach activity, on previous inspection reports dating back to last year.
We stopped in to ask management about the previous problems.
"Right now we have no comment on that," said an employee who identified herself as the manager, but did not give her name. "We've taken care of the problem and everything is status quo, and we're on a regiment and everything is good."
When we asked to take a look in the kitchen, we were told the general manager was out of town. Customers say they've seen signs the restaurant is working hard to address any issues.
"They brought in an industrial cleaning crew, and they took the place apart and put it back together,"said Kohler. "I'm glad they did all that."
A state inspector returned the following day and found no new violations. Management insists all problems are now taken care of, saying, "We're 100 percent open and ready for business."
Since our visit, the Cypress Creek general manager has invited us back to take a look in the kitchen. He also sent us the following statement:
"The closure of our restaurant on August 2nd, 2012 was the direct result of preventative maintenance being done in the kitchen. The Chef and Sous Chef who are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of our kitchen are no longer employed with the company. During the process of rectifying the issues from the inspection, the closure gave us the opportunity to expedite some of the maintenance including a deep steam and pressure washing of the entire area and equipment. We are currently working closely with Turner Pest Control, our pest company to assure that any and all issues are under control. The health and safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us as we continue to provide quality food and beverage service in the Tampa Bay area."