Health Department Smacks Sarita's Mac and Cheese
One of the two storefronts of Sarita's, formerly known as S'Mac, with its gate pulled partway down.
Now known as Sarita's Mac and Cheese, the restaurant formerly known as S'mac - which has two non-adjacent storefronts on East 12th between First and Second avenues - has been closed by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene because it failed its health inspection, a passerby noted to FiTR early this afternoon. But when we arrived to take a look, the gate on the premises has been coyly pulled down to conceal the familiar yellow notice, and another white notice posted, saying "We are closed to make some emergency repairs." Nice evasion, fellas!
The restaurant's version of things
A visit to the health department's website revealed 71 violation points, too many for a C grade, among them the following red ("serious") infractions:
1) Food worker does not use proper utensil to eliminate bare hand contact with food that will not receive adequate additional heat treatment. 2) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas. 3) Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution;
And further less-serious violations:
4) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist. 5) Toilet facility not maintained and provided with toilet paper, waste receptacle and self-closing door. 6) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained and/or not properly sealed, raised, spaced or movable to allow accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above and underneath the unit.
As we staked out the store, a delivery guy was seen ducking under the gate and going out in his orange vest and helmet vests bearing an insulated bag, but he wasn't really making a delivery, right? At any rate, a call to that location of Sarita's (there are two others), elicited the message: "We'll be closed for a few days as we will be doing some renovations." Let's hope that involves buying some toilet paper.
As we left, an employee lifted the gate to get in more easily, and the health department notice was revealed.
[Thanks to tipster and bon vivantNick Lucchesi
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