NYC restaurant health inspection drama
The Department of Health inspects every restaurant in the city. The resulting letter grades are meant to help consumers know that where they are eating is a clean (or in some cases, not so clean) establishment, but sometimes there is controversy. Many a restaurant has contested their grade.
With the recent news of the Strand Smokehouse's closure after the popular eatery's refusal to allow an inspection, we decided to take a look at some of the high-profile restaurant grade disasters of the past couple of years.
Is it dinner time yet?
Per Se, March 2014
$310-a-meal Per Se was given a “C” by the Health Department, with 42 violations. Owner Thomas Keller is famous for his high-end gourmet eateries as well as his consulting role in movies like “Ratatouille,” but this isn’t the first time he’s gotten an alarmingly low grade. Keller’s Las Vegas “Bouchon” narrowly missed being shut down by receiving a score of 40, just one point shy of flunking. But Per Se was at least partially redeemed. After a tribunal hearing, many of the violations were dismissed. (Credit: Getty Images / STAN HONDA)
Di Fara Pizza, November 2011
Beloved Brooklyn joint Di Fara Pizza was closed after receiving 67 violations from the Health Department, a flunking grade. It’s not the first time. The pizzeria was shut down twice in 2007. But that doesn’t stop New Yorkers from coming all the way from Manhattan to stand in line for an hour for Dom De Marco’s sublime pizza. After a few days closed, the De Marco's reopened with a B grade. (Credit: Barbara Alper )
Joanne Trattoria, October 2012
Lady Gaga's parents' Upper West Side Italian restaurant, Joanne Trattoria, received 42 “critical” violations from the Health Department, including unwashed surfaces and food placed in areas “ripe for contamination." Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta disputed it, but Lady Gaga herself says the food is delicious, claiming she gains five pounds every time she goes in there. (Credit: Getty Images/ Donna Ward)
Strand Smokehouse, April 2014
Restaurateur Tommy Vasilis is leading the charge against protesting report cards from the Health Department. Other restaurant owners have complained about the process as well, but Vasilis took one for the team when he questioned an inspection in April, and then refused it. His legal battle resulted in a 30-day shutdown for the Strand Smokehouse in Astoria and both Bakeway bakery locations. (Credit: Facebook / Strand Smokehouse)
Dominique Ansel Bakery, April 2014
Much to the horror of cronut-lovers everywhere, Dominique Ansel’s famous bakery in SoHo was closed by the Health Department after a mouse was spotted by a customer. Subsequent inspections revealed several hundred mouse droppings, but the bakery bounced back just days later with a special “Rocky” Cronut to celebrate their “dedication and resilience” even in the face of a vermin invasion. (Credit: Rachel Senatore)