Restaurant investigated after 7 people ate food allegedly contaminated with meth, officials say

Nikko's Japanese Steakhouse closed down for several days after police said customers were hospitalized from meth found in their food. (SOURCE: WALA)
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 7:56 PM CDT
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PACE, Fla. (WALA/Gray News) – A Florida restaurant is under investigation after authorities said seven patrons became sick after ingesting food contaminated with meth.

Nikko’s Japanese Steakhouse, located in Pace, was reportedly closed down after seven people were taken to the hospital Friday night.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said the food the victims ate and their leftovers came back positive for narcotics in tests.

Two of the seven victims came forward Wednesday to offer more details. Jordan Gray and Mathew Gilley told WALA the drug they had ingested, that sent them to the emergency room, was methamphetamines.

“It has been honestly horrifying,” Gray said. “It took several days for me to get a full night’s sleep, even then I have nightmares.”

Gray said she has experienced symptoms after eating the drug, including her heart racing and paranoia.

“So we all tested positive for methamphetamines. I mean I was horrified,” she said. “As a nurse, as a professional in the community, as a mother, I was terrified.”

Gilley says he’s had a loss of appetite since that night.

“My heart rate spiked. I remember seeing the heart rate monitor hit nearly two hundred,” he said. “I was horrified at what that meant.”

The restaurant in question reopened on Tuesday and released a statement addressing the incident.

In the statement, the restaurant’s owner said they were “extremely disheartened” and that the possible sickness or injury on their premises is “heartbreaking.”

The owner also said the incident was isolated, and to aid in the investigation by the sheriff’s office, she closed the restaurant as soon as it took place.

Investigators from the state health department found the restaurant to be in complete compliance with no violations.

“We will continue to cooperate with authorities to find out how this happened, and how to ensure that it will not happen again,” the statement said. “We are open for business today. Please, come enjoy a meal, and allow us to regain your trust by showing you that we’re the same Nikko’s you’ve loved for years.”

WALA talked to customers who stopped by the restaurant Tuesday after it reopened to show support.

Destiny Ramsay said she saw the news, but she saw the restaurant’s response saying they were complying with police during the investigation.

“Everybody was just kind of downing on them so I just decided to show support,” she said.

Gwyn Milstid, who lives in Pace, said the restaurant will have to rebuild trust with the community.

“If they trust the place, feel free to support them,” Milstid said. “You take your chances anywhere you go, it’s rolling the dice.”