Restaurant owner responds to viral photos disputing cleanliness


    Viral photos of local restaurant's kitchen raise concern of establishment's cleanliness. (Source: Javier Sanchez/Facebook

    The pictures of a dirty restaurant's cold storage went viral in a matter of minutes on Monday afternoon shortly after they were posted on Facebook.

    The owner of China Restaurant responded to the allegations of managing a dirty kitchen by offering CBS 4 News a tour of the kitchen and cold storage. He believes it was a former employee who released the the photos.

    "I do want a business," said Aaron Lin, Owner of China Restaurant. "I do care for customers' health and I want a clean restaurant."

    But on a busy day, Lin says a former employee decided not to comply with his directions.

    "I always remind my employees to keep it clean. If you keep it clean, it's easy to clean. If you can't keep it clean, it's hard to clean," Lin said. "I remember that day was busy, everybody was busy. I told him you got to clean, you got to organize," Lin explained.

    But instead of following orders, the former employee took the pictures that are now on social media.

    For the last 18 years, Lin has managed two businesses in Harlingen.

    He says he does his best to have everything in the best shape possible to prove just how he manages the kitchen.

    The Harlingen Health Department encountered the same images online and decided to pay the restaurant a visit on Monday afternoon.

    "We immediately dispatched someone and made an assessment," said Josue Ramirez, Director of Health in the City of Harlingen. "It took longer, whatever it takes to go through the business and we didn't find those conditions."

    According to the city's report, the food was found separated and protected. There was no signs of flies or roaches, giving the restaurant a 96 on its inspection test.

    "Historically, they're a really good business, always on top of everything. But like I said, nobody is perfect and they're going to have moments like this when it's rush hour. But if the employee is not doing their part, that's whats going to happen," Ramirez said.

    Despite the pictures of his restaurant surfacing, Lin says he will continue to provide the best service and experience for his customers.


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