Archive for the tag 'health inspection'


Legendary Midwood establishment Di Fara Pizza (1424 Avenue J) took to Facebook late last week and over the weekend, vowing to fight a $1,600 fine from the Department of Health for having too many chairs in the notoriously seat-strapped storefront.

Maggie DeMarco, daughter of famed dough-tosser Dom DeMarco, took to the social media site to explain a recent health inspection that left them with a B rating, saying that they had extra folding chairs in the kitchen.

Maggie wrote on Thursday:

A few years ago we purchased extra seats as we do get very crowded most of the time. We were always kind and would bring out an extra chair if someone asked … Those folding chairs caused us to get a B grade. As someone who has been doing this a very long time, I want people to know not to panic when they read grades on food service businesses . It rarely ever means anything hazardous to the public … At this time, we will no longer have anymore than 19 seats at all times.

According to city regulations, restaurants with 20 or more seats must have a public, handicapped-accessible bathroom. Di Fara does not. Their bathroom is behind the counter, in the kitchen.

On Saturday, Maggie updated Facebook fans on the developments. The city sent the business a letter offering to settle the case for $1,600 or spend a day attending a hearing. DeMarco suggested it’s a racket, and one she won’t stand for.

A business tends to settle just to avoid the inconvenience of attending the hearing. I , however will attend the hearing as I want the 19 seat rule explained to me clearer as we can not continue to pay fines for unexpected violations.

She also expressed her wish that the Department of Health assign dedicated inspectors to each restaurant, allowing them to build relationships and be subject to uniform standards on each visit – the inconsistent interpretation of regulations being a common complaint from restaurant owners.

DeMarco returned to Facebook again late last night, noting that the inspector appears to be a little ignorant of the laws. After some research, she discovered that the bathroom requirement is only applicable to restaurants opened after 1977. Since Di Fara Pizza opened in 1965, the eatery should be grandfathered in.

The hearing for Di Fara’s appeal is scheduled for March 18.

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Oh no! The city’s best pizzeria, Di Fara’s Pizza in Midwood, was shuttered by Department of Health inspectors yesterday after racking up 67 violation points.

Of course, it’s not a surprise to most familiar with the 1424 Avenue J location. The venerable pizzeria makes most fanatics feel torn. On the one hand: what a pizza! On the other: at $5 a slice, couldn’t you gussy the place up a bit?

Apparently the Health Department agreed with the assessment, and it’s not the first time. It was shut down at least two other times as recently as 2007. Here’s the run down of the latest violations.

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Notice anything weird about this photo of Marmaris, at 3081 Emmons Avenue, taken on Wednesday afternoon? No? Let’s look at one of the other doors.

Hmm. Another tree in front a door. Very strange. What’s going on here? Perhaps we should take a peek behind one of the trees. Maybe there’s a hot wood nymph or something…

Believe me, you want to know what’s going on here. Click to continue…

Avenue X Cafe Closed By DOH

Photo by BrooklynQ

The Health Department shuttered DVIN Cafe (2219 Avenue X) yesterday, after the establishment racked up 88 violation points.

DVIN Cafe received six “critical” violations, including cold food being stored at unsafe temperatures; a lack of a food protection certificate; evidence of live mice; a lack of a facility to wash, rinse, and sanitize utensils; and inadequate “personal cleanliness.”

There were other minor violations as well.

The Health Department’s website doesn’t have any previous inspection records available for DVIN.

Courtesy of Gene Berardelli

We wrote about Halikarnas’ sudden closure last month by the Health Department, and then told you days later about how it reopened, broke the law, and reclosed. Well, we stopped by there last week and found out the complete story.

First of all, Halikarnas (3075 Emmons Avenue) is open for business again. Second, its closing – and subsequent re-closing – appears to be the result of classic labyrinthine bureaucracy and confusion that has cost a local business tens of thousands of dollars.

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THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED: “Halikarnas Reopen and Clean, Lost Big To DOH Mess”

We told you Wednesday that Halikarnas, a Turkish restaurant on Emmons Avenue, closed down by order of the Health Department. But we stopped by in the afternoon and – guess what – staff was there and they invited us in for a meal. Something about mouse droppings, cockroaches, and a lack of running water didn’t really turn us on, though, and we went on our way.

Photo of the sign before being blocked by a menu

As it turned out, Halikarnas reopened illegally. The DOH sign on the door explaining its closure and saying that it is a violation of law to damage or obstruct it was, well, damaged and obstructed. After attempting to tear it down, Halikarnas employees covered it with the menu, as you can see in the photo above.

Well, justice has been served. DOH inspectors returned last night. It was found operating and serving food to patrons. The Health Department re-closed the restaurant and cited it for operating against the agency’s order to close.

Are instructions that difficult to follow?