Sea40 Japanese Cuisine owner Franki Tam, right, talks with his marketing manager, Michelle Gosselin, inside his kitchen at the Lewiston restaurant Thursday afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Sea40 Japanese Cuisine is set to reopen Saturday after the city health inspector gave the all-clear during a reinspection Thursday morning.

Inspector Louis Lachance closed the popular restaurant in the Lewiston Mall on Sept. 13, citing live and dead cockroaches under a cooler and freezer.

Michelle Gosselin, marketing and public relations coordinator for Sea40, said more than $10,000 in improvements had been made in the past two weeks, including replacing the freezer and dishwasher and painting the floor. Pepsi replaced the cooler.

Sea40 Japanese Cuisine owner Franki Tam talks about the horror he felt when he walked out the back door of his restaurant Thursday morning and smelled a horrible smell minutes before the health inspector was to arrive for a final inspection. He was relieved but still upset that it was from construction nearby. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Even though it wasn’t required, Gosselin said the restaurant also made the decision to toss all of its food out.

“(Owner Franki Tam) just wanted to show his customers that he’s really serious about the best service possible,” she said. “Right now, as of right this minute, there’s no food in the restaurant, so we have to go out and replace all of that today and tomorrow.”

Sea40 Japanese Cuisine in Lewiston has been closed but will reopen this weekend. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

About 20 people work at the restaurant. It will reopen Saturday at lunch and will start taking reservations at noon Friday.

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Gosselin said many of the improvements, including the painted floors, had been on Tam’s to-do list, but he hadn’t yet found a good time to do it. Painting requires the restaurant to be closed for three days.

“In one aspect, we were able to take advantage of things we haven’t been able to,” she said. “There were a lot of things we were not violated for — we were only violated for the pests — so we were able to deep clean everything and do a lot of things that we’ve wanted to do.”

The city health inspector, she said, had been helpful throughout the process of addressing issues and reopening.

Sea40 Japanese Cuisine owner Franki Tam inside his kitchen at the Lewiston restaurant Thursday afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Tam has increased visits from a pest control company from every month to every two weeks.

Gosselin said it was heartening to see how many people had supported Sea40 throughout on social media.

“People know us and know this can happen anywhere,” she said. “Now we just need to pay more attention.”

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