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At the 10th St. Baths, a Rodent Problem

Outside Russian and Turkish BathsIan Duncan Patrons sit on the steps of the Russian and Turkish Baths. Its kitchen was recently closed after failing a health inspection.

Citing the presence of vermin and flies, the Health Department shut down the kitchen of the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street during the last week of May. The baths was again permitted to serve food on Friday, but will be subject to monthly inspections until its cleanliness improves.

A health department spokeswoman told The Local that the kitchen was closed for “extensive evidence of vermin conditions and conditions that supported their existence” and the department’s Web site lists other violations, including failure to keep food hot. The kitchen was initially closed on May 25; it was allowed to reopen June 1 after a follow-up inspection.

In the Kitchen at Russian and Turkish BathsIan Duncan

Since July 2010, the city has graded restaurants’ hygiene on an A to C scale, and owners are required to display their most recent grade to the public. Individual violations incur points, and anything above 28 points equals a grade C and means an establishment will be subject to monthly checkups by the health department. During the May 25 inspection, the Russian and Turkish Baths scored 55 points. The health department spokeswoman confirmed another inspection will take place in the next few weeks.

Currently, a “grade pending” poster is on display at the Russian and Turkish Baths, meaning the venue is contesting the results of the inspection. Speaking with The Local today, the manager of the Baths, Dimitri Shapiro, played down the results of the inspection. “We have an exterminator but we never saw any mouse. It was mostly paperwork issues that stopped it getting done,” he said, referring to the kitchen reopening.

Mr. Shapiro added that during the second inspection on June 1 the kitchen got “a clean bill of health.”

The baths serve traditional Russian food, as well as all-day breakfast. The baths have occupied their site on East 10th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A since 1892.