NBC 6 Investigates: Hidden Food Prep Areas

At Kouzina Greek Bistro, located at 3535 NE 2nd Avenue in the Mid-Town area, Team Six Investigators saw food prepared and stored in a shed apparently hidden from state investigators. It's on the neighbor's property.

State law requires raw meat be stored at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Even so, Team 6 Investigators witnessed meat sitting on a table for two hours on an 80 degree Miami day last week as a repairman worked on a refrigerator in the shed.

Later, a man was seen cutting cheese on that same cutting board. When asked if he was cutting cheese, he said “yes.” And when he was asked if that was a prep area, he also responded, “Yes.”

Team 6 Investigators staked out the prep area for days, armed with a hidden camera , where we documented salad, vegetables, cheese and the slab of meat stored or prepared in the shed before being walked next door to the restaurant.

Despite what the man says and what our hidden camera documented, a Kouzina manager later told us the area is only used for storage for dry goods.

A woman we spoke to by phone who said she is one of the owners also denied food is prepared in the shed. She also said that she, “knows of no one who has gotten sick from eating at the restaurant in its 18 months of its existence."

On Nov. 26, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation sent out an inspector after Team 6 Investigators asked the state if it inspected the shed. The inspector left after he was told that no hidden preparation area existed.

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So this week, concerned about diners' health, Team 6 Investigators contacted DBPR and told them where to find the shed, but when the inspector got there, the shed door was locked and a restaurant manager refused to allow him access to the building.

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The state’s inspection division is now seeking an administrative complaint, alleging obstruction and interference, violations that could lead to fines or even suspension of the restaurant license.

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