Details on why and how East Village mainstay Yaffa Cafe closed are starting to emerge, and it's not a pretty picture. As has already been reported, the cafe was forced to close in large part because the owners were told that the beloved backyard cafe was illegal. The DOB issued a partial vacate order on the space both because it didn't have the proper fire exits and because it wasn't zoned for anything other than residential use, then apparently told owner Ron Ramati that it would be impossible to get the space up to code. So why did it take the DOB a whole 32 years to crack down? The department won't offer an explanation, telling DNAinfo only that it was summoned to the restaurant after a "complaint," which Yaffa says came from "one of our not friendly neighbors."
Piling on more trouble on top of that, Ramati tells DNAinfo the building inspection came on the same day as a Health Department inspection that lasted nine hours, during which the restaurant was not allowed to serve customers. Given that the inspection process usually only lasts an hour or two, that does seem rather excessive.