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18th Jul 2023

Japanese steakhouse in Florida closed after meth reportedly found in soy sauce

Fiona Frawley

japanese steakhouse meth soy sauce

Seven customers allege to have been poisoned by drugs at the restaurant.

A Japanese steakhouse in Santa Rosa County, Florida closed this month after several allegations of drug poisoning on the premises.

Nikko Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar closed its doors on July 7 amid a poisoning investigation that’s been ongoing since June.

Speaking to FOX 10 News, Santa Rosa County officials said that the substances tested positive for narcotics but did not disclose exactly what type of drugs they were. In a statement, officials said “We have been able to confirm seven victims at this time. All are currently receiving treatment at local hospitals.”

Nikko Steakhouse, image via Google Maps

Elsewhere, USA Today reported that drug tests conducted at the Santa Rosa Medical Centre confirmed at least three of the people involved in the incident tested positive for meth.

An investigation uncovered traces of methampetamine in the restaurant’s soy sauce, but no arrests have been made yet due to lack of evidence.

“Slandered and defamed”

Nikko Steakhouse have still made the decision to close, revealing in a statement that they have been “brutally harassed”, “slandered” and “defamed” following the allegations.

A statement shared by the restaurant on Facebook reads:

“After more than ten years of serving the Pace community, we have decided to close Nikko Japanese Steakhouse . On June 10th, we heard, just like many of you did, of people being injured after eating at our restaurant. From the moment the story broke, we cooperated with authorities and all licensing agencies. 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.
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.
Today, a family owned and operated business is closed, 20 employees are out of work, all because of the power of social media. We are heartbroken, but were unable to sustain the cost to stay open, when it seemed that every day, a local news outlet wanted to find something else to report on. We have had the news at our place of business, called on our phones and have been harassed at our personal homes, it’s all just been too much”.

Lack of evidence

According to a report obtained by the Pensacola News Journal multiple employees pointed to one worker they thought could have contaminated the food, but a lack of evidence left the investigation at a standstill.
“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,” a statement from the reporting officer read.
Header image via Getty/Google Maps