Sarasota restaurant voted 'best' shut down by health inspector

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WTSP) -- The walls of Mrs. Chen's Chinese Restaurant are lined with awards. The restaurant, with it's all you can eat buffet, was voted best restaurant in Sarasota.

But a state health inspector uncovered major issues inside the kitchen, shutting the restaurant down as an emergency closure on April 7 with 28 violations.

According to the state report, the issues included live roaches on the cook's line under buckets of soy sauce, temperature violations on foods in the reach-in cooler, along with pans of fried chicken and fish found at room temperature. The inspector issued a stop sale after finding more problems in the walk-in cooler, with the a/c unit dripping onto the chicken and beef.

"Well, the dripping on the meat, certainly uncovered… and the roaches definitely, I'd probably put them at number 1," said customer Bill Rainville.

10 News stopped in, checking to see if conditions had improved. Inside Mrs. Chen's Restaurant we found Mr. Chen, who explained what happened with all those temperature violations.

"We're pretty clean, it's just an issue with the refrigeration," said Mr. Chen. "He just came in right at the moment right after a rush, so we opened the cooler a lot. Usually the temperature is pretty good. It was just the wrong timing, you know?"