MANHATTAN – An Upper East Side fixture is no longer serving generous plate full of diner staples like omelets, burgers and disco fries to hungry neighbors. Instead, Neil’s Coffee Shop is closed— shut down by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene after inspectors say a dose of their old-New York charm came with a side of vermin and insects.
Evidence of mice, ‘filth flies’ and live roaches were all found inside the restaurant, located at the corner of East 70th Street and Lexington Avenue, according to a DOHMH inspection report from March 1st detailing the long list of violations— many of them critical— that led for the Commissioner of Health to close Neil’s Coffee Shop that day.
The old school large neon sign still shines brightly above the now-shuttered small, luncheonette-style eatery, drawing attention to the coffee shop— though now the attention is focused on the darkened interior and the large yellow notice hanging on the front door alerting passers-by to what happened here.
“Closed,” the notice reads in large black all-capital letters. “by order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene.”
The March 1st inspection found a number of additional violations, according to DOHMH records, including food not protected from potential sources of contamination and a food contact surface not properly sanitized after each use.
Even the silverware wasn’t being washed correctly, according to the inspection report.
In addition to all that, Health Department inspectors also found hot food being kept at temperatures too low and food being cooled incorrectly.
On it’s Yelp page, Neil’s says “We are an ‘old school diner’ that believes great quality food, and a cozy, intimate environment are what customers expect and want from us. Therefore, our priorities are exactly those.”
It’s not clear when the restaurant will reopen or whether it will contest the results of the DOHMH inspection.
Upper East Site tried to reach Neil’s Coffee Shop for comment on the closure, but those efforts have not been successful.
Update: Neil’s Coffee Shop reopened after a second inspection by the Health Department on March 10th.