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WATCH: Roaches spotted inside CiCi's during live broadcast

7:21 PM, Feb 9, 2012   |    comments
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KENNETH CITY, Florida -- CiCi's Pizza is a popular place after class for students from nearby Dixie Hollins High School. But a number of students got an unpleasant surprise last week when the restaurant was deemed unsafe to remain open in the middle of their meal.

"We walked out, we didn't even know. They closed down. We thought they were just closing for the day and we saw the sign on the door," said Dixie Hollins student Jessie Bain.

The bright orange sign posted on the door indicates the restaurant must remain closed until critical violations are corrected.

Photo Gallery: Roach infestation shuts down CiCi's Pizza

"That's gross. I don't even want to know. That's gross!" said a disgusted Bain after his meal.

Just 12 days earlier, the same CiCi's was shut down after a state inspector documented finding the restaurant filled with roaches including under and on the buffet counter and up with the pizza.

"I'm never eating here again. I hate roaches. I have a really big fear of them," said customer Brittany Laferriere. "Just the fact...knowing they were near my food is just nasty."

We wanted to find out from employees what was going on. It took some time and a lot of knocking, but eventually an employee from inside finally opened the door. He would not discuss the problems or closure, but instead directed us to CiCi's Texas-based public relations firm for comment.

They e-mailed us this statement, saying:

"At CiCi's quality and cleanliness are our top priorities. When we first learned of the problem we took immediate steps to correct it. We now know we have some work to do, and we will reopen when we're confident the problem is resolved."

But many customers don't seem satisfied with that response.

"For them to shut it down again, the first time it gets shut down you should have just fixed it then and there," said Joe Asaro.

Many customers feel the restaurant should remain closed as long as there are roaches.

"That they would let us come in and eat, knowing all the stuff is going on...they should at least clean," said a shocked Bain.

In fact, during our live broadcast on February 1st, 10 News spotted through the front store window numerous live insects running throughout the restaurant. It's unclear when state inspectors will conduct their next surprise visit, but we will keep you updated on future inspections.

In the meantime, if you choose to eat at the CiCi's in Kenneth City, be alert and report live insects or other dirty conditions to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

UPDATE:  State finds more bugs on February 6th inspection.   See the full rerpot here.

Take a look at our previous Behind the Kitchen Door reports:

Classic Homestyle Buffet, Tampa 1/11/12 

Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12 

Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12 

China Express, Brandon 2/8/12

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