Florida Japanese Steakhouse Shuts Down After Customers Test Positive for Meth After Eating at Restaurant

Several patrons reportedly fell sick after eating at the restaurant's hibachi table, and three people later tested positive for meth.

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A Florida-based Japanese steakhouse came under fire after patrons tested positive for methamphetamines after eating at the restaurant.

USA Today reports that Nikko Japanese Steakhouse in Pace, Florida has shut down following the incident. Customers said that they fell sick after eating at the restaurant’s hibachi table on June 9. After getting tested, three of the seven people who became ill tested positive for meth. 

Local police opened an investigation into the alleged poisoning but the case was closed and no arrest was made due to lack of evidence. The steakhouse issued a statement via Facebook about shuttering its doors.

"After more than ten years of serving the Pace community, we have decided to close Nikko Japanese Steakhouse," the restaurant wrote. "It was determined by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office that there was nothing linking the restaurant to the accusations, and after a clear survey by the health department, we re-open our doors. We are so thankful to our regulars who came back to support us, unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough to keep the doors open."

The eatery said that following the incident, they were “brutally harassed” by the media.

“Since then, we have been brutally harassed, daily, by various media outlets, who have slandered and defamed every aspect of our business. We have been investigated, searched, and questioned while fully cooperating at all times. That’s all we could do."

They then thanked their customers for their years of “loyal patronage” even through the pandemic.

Employees thought a fellow worker had put something in the food, though investigators were unable to prove the claim. According to the police report, the co-worker was described as acting erratic on June 9.

"Due to the lack of eyewitness and surveillance footage, I am unable to determine who if any person associated with the restaurant contaminated the food consumed by the patrons," the reporting officer said. "It is believed based on the statements from the workers that (the employee) possibly unknowingly contaminated the food, but this cannot be confirmed."

That same day, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation also conducted an inspection a the restaurant and had a follow-up at the steakhouse on June 13. The department discovered that the eatery had 31 violations, which included employees not washing their hands properly after handling raw food and the restaurant operating under an expired food service license.

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