THE owner of a restaurant in Teignmouth says her business has made a fresh start after a judge overturned a £9,000 fine for having a dirty kitchen.
Maria Webb said The Pickwick restaurant had listened to the concerns of inspectors and cleaned up its act.
Earlier this year, the restaurant was branded 'filthy' by Teignbridge District Council and Mrs Webb was ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines and costs for failing to keep it clean.
But a judge at Exeter Crown Court has overturned the fines because Mrs Webb has made so many improvements.
She said: "The judge recognised the major improvements since I have taken a more hands-on approach with the restaurant.
"I now check everything on a daily basis and the judge agreed it is now a kitchen to be proud of.
"He recognised all the hard work we have put in and the fact we've put in more than £8,000 of our own money.
"Last summer was a total washout with the weather but this year has been slightly better but we lost a lot of regular customers due to the bad publicity.
"I would like to thank those regulars for their continued support and look forward to welcoming new ones who will see the high standards we are now setting.
"We also want to keep working with the council and listening to their advice."
Inspectors from the council gave the restaurant a 'zero' rating when they visited in August last year.
They found dirty dishes, floors, microwave, coffee machine, tin opener, food blender as well as food open on the floor of the walk-in freezer, and containers of food left open.
Mrs Webb, 46, of Harts Close, Teignmouth, pleaded guilty to four breaches of Food Hygiene Regulations 2006.
She also pleaded guilty to the same four charges on behalf of her company South West Country Inns Ltd for which she was the sole director.
She said she had concentrated on the front of house and not been assertive enough with staff about keeping the kitchen clean.
The restaurant was awarded five out of five for most aspects of cleanliness in a recent check.
The judge wiped off the fines and reduced the punishment to a conditional discharge.
Mrs Webb will still have to pay the £1,760 costs.