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Sceney Tropical Restaurant Gitano Shut Down by Health Department — Again

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It got docked for improper refrigeration and flies and reopened Saturday

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Gitano NYC
Gitano NYC
Photo via Gitano by Samantha Nandez/

The palm tree-studded, celebrity and Instagram influencer destination Gitano is in trouble with the Department of Health yet again.

DOH shut down the Soho outdoor restaurant this week for the second time this summer, with 76 violation points for things like flies, insufficient refrigeration, and not protecting food from potential contamination, according to public record.

Gitano, a Tulum import that took over a lot at Varick and Canal streets, officially closed on Thursday and was down for the count on Friday night, too. A spokesperson for the restaurant says that “in the extreme heat, our refrigeration system failed.” Owners James Gardner and Melissa Perlman plan to reopen their seasonal restaurant by Saturday. An email went out asking customers to check inboxes for instructions to rebook reservations. Update: A spokesperson says that the restaurant did indeed reopen on Saturday. According to the DOH, Gitano received 13 violation points on its newer inspection, with violations for sewage-related flies and not being vermin-proof.

Since its debut in June, Gitano has become a summer hotspot — flooded with Instagram influencers for its photogenic, tropical lounge oasis look. Celebrities and fashion folk like Chloe Sevigny, Lance Bass, and Christian Siriano have also been spotted at parties there. It’s intended to be the NYC version of Tulum’s Gitano, a sleek party spot for travelers to the jungle vacation destination.

But the pop-up is shaping up to be the messiest opening of the year. Less than a month after its open, the health department closed the restaurant for issues like improper sewage disposal, an unmaintained bathroom, and insufficient refrigeration. At the time, angry customers with suddenly canceled reservations flooded Yelp, with confusion and miscommunication over why it was happening. Soon after it reopened, Eater critic Robert Sietsema also found that the Mexican fare was mediocre, and service remained rough.

Refrigeration problems contributed to this second closure as well, and this time, people claiming to be former staffers have posted complaints about management to the restaurant’s Yelp page, calling the owners “clueless” and mentioning potential wage and labor issues. Eater has reached out for more information.

Gitano is slated to close in the fall, and previously, the owners have said it will be returning for another summer in 2019.


Varick Street and Canal Street, New York , NY 10013