TAMPA, Florida - Talk to customers about taste and you'll hear rave reviews from customers of Tampa's Lincoln Restaurant.
"It's incredibly good," said customer Scott Coranglin.
"We had an entire meal for like 10 bucks," said Coranglin's friend Sir Wilson. "It's authentic. No other place is better than this."
But a state health inspector painted a much different picture, documenting 70 violations on the restaurant's August 22nd inspection.
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Among the issues were live flies throughout the kitchen; temperature violations on all food in the walk-in cooler; and roach activity, with 75 live roaches behind the 3-compartment sink, 15 under the cooks' line, three near the steam table, along with roach excrement found in the bar area.
Click here for the full list of temperature violations
The inspector also reported rodent activity, with 10-15 droppings near the soda area and rodent nesting material in a hole of the wall. The state inspector also documented a black or green mold-like substance in the ice machine and no soap or paper towels at a hand sink for employees to wash their hands.
"I think the concerns would be obvious," said Coranglin. "At this point, with droppings and insects and stuff, I did not know that."
We wanted to know how many of the 70 violations were actually cleaned up, so last week we stopped in. We were told the restaurant's owner was not there, but should be back shortly.
"He said he's on his way. A couple of minutes he'll be here. He's on Hillsborough already," said a man who identified himself as the restaurant's bookkeeper.
But after over an hour of waiting, the owner never showed up. The restaurant's chef finally came out and told us he was too busy to talk or show us in the kitchen.
"I'm working now ... busy, busy, busy," said the chef.
We were unable to see back in the kitchen, but we did spot a dead lizard in the dining room. But it was this restaurant's state inspection report that had customers like Sandra Sanchez most concerned.
"I wouldn't eat there because who knows what's in the food," said Sanchez.
No one from Lincoln responded to our request for information. The state did clear the restaurant to reopen the following day with only three remaining violations on their scheduled follow-up inspection.
You can take a look at Lincoln's entire inspection history by clicking here.
Click here to access a list of the top 10 cleanest restaurants around the Bay Area for the week of August 26, 2013.
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