The iconic Dumbo location of Grimaldi’s is closed after a dispute with the Department of Health. According to public records, the popular thin-crust pizzeria had three violations, including evidence of mice or live mice, failure to vermin-proof, and not properly installing or maintaining plumbing systems.
But Gina Peluso, daughter of Grimaldi’s owner Frank Ciolli, is refuting the veracity of the DOH inspection. According to her, only two violations were found during the inspection: a missing door sweep and mouse droppings found in an area “completely separate” from where Grimaldi’s makes its pizzas.
Peluso tells Eater New York that those violations were addressed and fixed immediately in accordance with the DOH’s instructions, but that the restaurant has been shut down because of a permit issue. “This has been nothing but a railroad at this point,” she says.
The permit issue, according to Peluso, stems from the fact that Grimaldi’s is subleasing the space at 1 Front St. in Dumbo. The original leaser owns the DOH permit and has been evicted from the building, so the DOH has required Grimaldi’s to secure its own permit in order to undergo the required opening inspection, Peluso says.
She adds that they’re working hard to get all of that done so the pizzeria can reopen quickly, but she feels like the DOH is being unnecessarily difficult. The restaurant has been ready to go since the day after the permit issue arose, she says. “Many restaurants get tortured by the Health Department,” she says. “I’m just the latest victim.”
Update: DOH spokeswoman Carolina Rodriguez says in response to the allegations that Grimaldi’s has a recurrent vermin problem, a claim supported by public inspection documents. She adds that the DOH is requiring two exterminations of the space, as well as requiring the owner or manager of the restaurant to retake and pass a food protection certification class due to the inspection history. Additionally, the DOH is mandating that an owner of the restaurant visit the health department offices in-person before Grimaldi’s can reopen.
Another spokesperson writes in an email: “The bottom line is mice droppings is not a topping anyone wants on their pizza.”
Still, Peluso says she’s worried about the tourists who come into town expecting to grab a slice of Grimaldi’s. “It’s like going to Disneyland and your favorite ride is closed,” she says.
CBS New York first reported the closure of the restaurant.