Don't panic: Athens Cafe is back open

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Emergency closures can happen at any time to even the most diligent kitchen staff so, we wanted to see how the crew at Athens Cafe in San Jose is recovering from a recent run-in with pests and how they've cleaned up their act.​

We may be thousands of miles away from the Mediterranean but Sam Savvidis says Athens Cafe on St. Augustine Road is the closest you can get to a true Greek experience.

"This is the same food you will find if you go to Greece- anywhere in Greece," Savvidis said. For more than two decades, he's worked hard to offer Greek food while sharing his culture with the community. 

The walls of his restaurant are covered with Greek art while music and photos fill the room.

But when health inspectors found roaches throughout the kitchen last month, the 3-day closure that followed was hard to swallow.

"We were caught by surprise and so we took action in trying to bring the right companies in to rectify the problem," Savvidis said. The problem, according to Savvidis was a combination of renovations to the shopping plaza and a pest control company that wasn't getting the job done. "Because of that issue, the previous pest control company was fired and new ones were brought in that did the job."

The restaurant landed a perfect score during a follow-up inspection. But it took a financial hit. Savvidis says he lost nearly $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue. It's unfortunate but he's confident he'll bounce back.

"To my surprise, every single customer that came that day and noticed the closure... on Monday, they were ready to come in," Savvidis explained.

He's hoping to not only see loyal customers return but newcomers as well.