Those passing by Pizzeria Del Corso on Avenue U and Batchelder Street last weekend may have noticed the restaurant shuttered and a Department of Health notice in the window.

According to owner Nino Coniglio, DOH bungling of his permit, mixed with harassment from an anonymous “tipster,” has cost them around $16,000 in lost business and fines.

Nino explained  that for the past few months some dubious parties have called in false 311 complaints. The complaints ranged from smoking while making pizza, spitting within the restaurant’s food preparation areas, and handling money and then touching the food with bare hands. The Health Department investigated three times in the last few months, first on March 6 and then March 11. No violation points were issued on those two visits, but an expired restaurant permit prompted inspectors to issue a warning.

According to Nino, the restaurant was supposed to receive a new permit earlier this year. But he was required to show for a hearing that fell on the same day as February’s snowstorm. Though the city’s offices were open, they cancelled the hearing and told Nino to wait for a rescheduling. The appointment never came, but eventually he received a fine for nearly $3,000 for failing to show for his hearing. This, of course, isn’t the first time we’ve heard of DOH screwiness costing a local restaurant money.

Del Corso’s reopening was further slowed by the insurance company dragging their feet with some required information. Del Corso was not able to renew the expired document in a timely manner and, on April 13, when the DOH returned to investigate another fake complaint they finally shut down the pizzeria.

After getting a new insurance company over the weekend and passing another required inspection on April 20, which found zero violations, Del Corso is now reopened.

Nino said that in the five days he was closed they lost about $13,000 in business, plus the cost of fines and paperwork. As for the harassing tipster, Nino said he has an idea of who it is, but doesn’t intend to point fingers in public.

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  • Eugene

    Both Del Corso and Nino are great. I go there frequently and would strongly encourage anybody who hasn't been there yet to make the trip.

  • Jim

    Maybe the tipster does not like the crappy graffiti on the side of the building making the neighborhood look like crap.

  • GregK718

    The graffiti art would look nice if this place was in an industrial area. But being in a residential neighborhood, I have to agree with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=839675042 Holly Renee Reinhardt

    I can see why people don't like the graffiti, but I personally think it's 1) not that terrible and 2) brightens up the area. I mean, really – the neighborhood is pretty lacking in artistic culture.
    Regardless, that's no reason to try to shut down a restaurant. I really loved the meal I had when I ate there. The chef was friendly, came around to every table to check in on the diners, and made sure the food was excellent. This is just ridiculous, and I felt the restaurant was cleaner and nicer than any other pizzeria in the neighborhood.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=839675042 Holly Renee Reinhardt

    I can see why people don't like the graffiti, but I personally think it's 1) not that terrible and 2) brightens up the area. I mean, really – the neighborhood is pretty lacking in artistic culture.
    Regardless, that's no reason to try to shut down a restaurant. I really loved the meal I had when I ate there. The chef was friendly, came around to every table to check in on the diners, and made sure the food was excellent. This is just ridiculous, and I felt the restaurant was cleaner and nicer than any other pizzeria in the neighborhood.

  • Guest

    jesus.. you guys really do have a love affair with this shut down place. A whole post dedicated to defending their filth. Clearly, you received one side of the story, but did you verify that the the appointment was actually cancelled? That it was never rescheduled? That “tipsters” were actually behind the violations?

    I could go on, but you’d probably just ask Nino what his thoughts were and then publish them. I know blogs aren’t exactly the poster boys of journalistic integrity and thorough research, but come on…