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Health Code Violations Shutter Barbone - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Health Code Violations Shutter Barbone


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Albert Ibrahimi in the Garden at BarboneIan Duncan Albert Ibrahimi in the garden at Barbone. The restaurant was closed over the weekend for health code violations.

Albert Ibrahimi was hoping to spend Thursday night celebrating the five years in business at Barbone, his first restaurant, an Italian place on Avenue B. Instead, he spent it sitting with a health inspector who was in the process of closing the restaurant down for sanitary code violations.

Mr. Ibrahimi said his restaurant was “spotless” certainly no vermin and not a single fly. His undoing was a refrigerator that failed in the strain of Thursday’s heat shortly before the inspector came knocking at 10 p.m.

“I was in shock that he was closing me down,” Mr. Ibrahimi said. “I actually planned to go out and meet some friends.”

What followed was a scramble to get a new refrigerator online and fill in the health department’s paperwork to get inspected again the next day and have permission to reopen for the weekend.

Barbone on Avenue BIan Duncan Barbone, 186 Avenue B.

“They basically give you homework,” Mr. Ibrahimi explained, referring to the health department. It involves checking off each violation and demonstrating that it has been remedied.

That job out the way, Mr. Ibrahimi was told no inspectors were available until Monday morning. Fretting about the state of his fridges, Mr. Ibrahimi said he only slept four hours throughout the weekend. A contributor on the Yahoo local network noted the closure.

Barbone was open again on Monday night and getting ready for the dinner service last night when The Local spoke with Mr. Ibrahimi that day.

The inspection was the first since the health department introduced tougher inspections and letter grades in July 2010. Mr. Ibrahimi said he bought a torch more powerful than those used by inspectors looking for grime and evidence of mice, just to be on the safe side.

Mr. Ibrahimi said a bad inspection can have a “psychological effect” on customers and damage an owner’s reputation, even if as business is caught on technicalities or bad luck. Mr. Ibrahimi is no stranger to department of health inspectors: Barbone was previously closed in February 2009 after failing an inspection. Coincidentally, that closure came the day after the health department announced it would be introducing letter grades.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health confirmed that Barbone was closed for violations totaling 74 points — anything more than 27 is considered a ‘C’ grade in the inspection system — and inspected again on Monday morning, when it was allowed to reopen.