Sceney, palm-tree packed Tulum import Gitano racked up a slew of health violations this week that led to the Department of Health temporarily shutting down the outdoor Soho hot spot.
A total of 92 violation points on July 10 and 114 points on July 11 — ranging from insufficient refrigeration to improper sewage disposal — led to the brief closure, which the outdoor restaurant told several guests was for varying reasons. Angry customers flocked to the restaurant’s Yelp page, posting screenshots of conversations in which the restaurant canceled reservations suddenly, offering a round of free drinks “as way of compensation for the inconvenience.”
One customer was simply told it was an “unexpected issue,” while another was cited construction. Yet another was told about the health department issues. “We are still in our preview mode. Things occasionally go wrong,” one text from the restaurant says.
The violations also include an unmaintained bathroom, an inadequate potable water supply, and an unacceptable material used for a food contact surface.
In a statement through a spokesperson, Gitano said that “one of the most challenging parts of this project has been the core utilities infrastructure, bringing city water and waste disposal connections to an empty lot in NYC.” The restaurant pointed to temporary services it initially employed to do so, saying that since the inspection it has switched to a system where it’s connected directly to NYC city water and sewer. Other changes include netting around the open kitchen and a roof connecting the two kitchen trailers.
Gitano’s spokesperson says the restaurant reopened last night following a reinspection, though the DOH website does not yet reflect that. Still, a tipster who tried to go to the venue Thursday was told that it was closed to the public for a private event.
Gitano opened just three weeks ago on what was formerly an empty lot in Soho, transforming the 22,000-square-foot space into a palm tree-packed tropical oasis for open-fire Mexican fare and cocktails. It quickly became a hot spot for the fashion and celebrity crowd, such as actress Chloe Sevigny and singer Lance Bass, with lines wrapping around the block. It’s an outdoor pop-up and will close later this fall.
Update: July 13, 2018, 12:34 p.m.
This article was updated to include a statement from Gitano.