Composite shows a red outdoor dining shed. Inset are photos of filth underneath the shed and a blurred image of a dead rat inside the shed.
Jacques Brasserie has removed part of its dining shed, though the UES restaurant's neighbors now complain of a stench, droppings and decay | Upper East Site, Nora Wesson/Upper East Site

‘Unbearable’ Stench Fills Street as Jacques Brasserie Denies Rat Infestation, Removes Part of Dining Shed


With a foul stench permeating the air in front of Upper East Side restaurant Jacques Brasserie on an unseasonably warm February day last week, roughly a third of its rat-infested dining shed was taken down, though neighbors who raised concerns about a possible rodent infestation are anything but satisfied with the fix.

Photo shows commercial garbage cans lined up on the street in front of Giacomo's Pizza where a dining shed used to be.
Jacques Brasserie removed approximately one-third of its dining shed, the portion in front of sister restaurant ‘Giacomo’s Pizza’ | Upper East Site

Located at 206 East 85th Street just east of Third Avenue, the longtime Yorkville French eatery had been the source of complaints from neighbors and the condo board of the high-rise across the street, after dozens of rats were spotted congregating in its enclosed dining shed over the past few months, as Upper East Site previously reported

Photo shows a dilapidated red dining shed with the right side partially removed.
The portion of the shed’s removal revealed the filth accumulating beneath and unleashed a powerful stench | Upper East Site

“The stench remains unbearable,” said Georgia, who lives on the block. Having alerted Upper East Site to the rat problem in January, she has endured the eye-watering smell since Friday evening, when the restaurant began modifying the shed. “It’s toxic,” she went on, describing it as a mix of rat droppings, trash and decay. 

Photo shows a pile of filth and sludge underneath a dining shed with mussel shells peeking out.
Mussel shells are mixed in with the rotting filth and sludge underneath Jacques Brasserie’s dining shed | Nora Wesson/Upper East Site

Now, the western third of the shed has been torn down, Jacques’ trash bins are taking up a parking space beside it, and the rats are ever bolder. When Upper East Site visited the street on Sunday, we observed filthy conditions inside the shed, which is now filled with furniture and debris, as well as a nearly foot-long rat running between the structure and a parked motorcycle. 

Photo shows a pile of debris inside a dining shed including sandbags which are chewed open.
The dining shed outside Jacques Brasserie is now filled with furniture and debris | Nora Wesson/Upper East Site

Piles of rat droppings sat on building materials, while pictures taken of the crawl space beneath the shed show dirt, rotting food waste, and clovers somehow growing in the sludge despite a complete lack of sunlight. 

Photo shows a close up of a chewed open sandbag covered in rat droppings.
A chewed open sandbag inside Jacques Brasserie’s dining shed has been used as a litter box by rats and is covered in droppings | Nora Wesson/Upper East Site

“I think it decreases the quality of life for us who live on the block,” Georgia, a pseudonym to protect her privacy, told Upper East Site, adding that she’s seen “eight, 10, 12” rats since Friday, along with the shadows of many more. 

ALSO READ | Oh Rats! Rodent Complaints Surge on the Upper East Side

“It just feels like unneighborly and rude behavior,” she said. 

Photo shows the top of a clover growing through sludge underneath a dining shed.
A four-leaf clover can be seen growing from the filth and sludge under Jacques Brasserie’s dining shed | Nora Wesson/Upper East Site

“There is no infestation, that’s totally inaccurate,” Jacques Brasserie manager Kevin Estrada told Upper East Site. Acknowledging the presence of rats in the shed, he blames the City for the rodent problem, calling it “a war you’re never going to win.”

Photo shows a dead rat laying belly-up on fake foliage inside a dining shed.
Dead rats spotted inside Jacques Brasserie’s dining shed have been photographed by neighbors | Obtained by Upper East Site

As Upper East Site previously reported, The Brompton, a luxury condominium across the street from the restaurant, had sent Jacques a letter demanding the shed be torn down and a pest control firm be hired to end the infestation — giving a deadline of January 19th — but most of the structure still stands and rats still abound. 

Photo shows a wide shot of a red brick high rise on Third Avenue in Manhattan.
The entrance to The Brompton condominium (center, red brick) is located across from Jacques Brasserie on East 85th Street | Upper East Site

“I don’t really understand why they think they can tell us what to do,” Estrada fumed. “They don’t pay the bills here.” 


He explained that the western part of the shed has been taken down because “we don’t need it anymore,” and that, due to cost, the rest of it will be removed after the outdoor dining season ends later this year, in accordance with the City’s November deadline.

Photo shows a dilapidated red dining shed with the right side partially removed.
Jacques Brasserie claims the shed was partially removed because they didn’t need it anymore | Upper East Site

“I really don’t think it’s fair what the people from The Brompton are doing, trying to make the restaurant look bad,” Estrada said. 

Photo shows the logo for Jacques Brasserie on a window and the top of a menu pasted in that window.
Jacques Brasserie has served the Upper East Side for over 30 years | Upper East Site

On Monday morning, an Orkin pest control services van was seen parked around the corner on Third Avenue, but no extermination work was noticed. Estrada said that the company comes every week to lay traps, place rat poison, and use a spray repellent.

Photo shows an Orkin Pest Control pick up truck parked in front of Giacomo's Pizza.
An Orkin Pest Control truck was parked outside Giacomo’s Pizza on Monday, around the corner from Jacques | Upper East Site

A February 7th Health Department re-inspection upgraded Jacques Brasserie from a ‘B’ rating to an ‘A,’ noting that “Evidence of rats or live rats in establishment’s food or non-food areas” is still present, a persistent violation dating back to the summer of 2022. 

Photo shows a dead rat laying on its side on the astroturf inside a dining shed.
Neighbors have photographed multiple dead rates inside the dining shed | Obtained by Upper East Site

Estrada claimed that the restaurant received two violation points — “you’ve never heard of that before in a restaurant” — despite it actually receiving 13, including the rat issue, improper cleaning or sealing of non-food contact surfaces, and “harborage or conditions conducive to rodents, insects or other pests,” according to the Health Department. 

Photo shows a red outdoor dining shed.
Jacques Brasserie is located at 206 East 85th Street just east of Third Avenue | Upper East Site

A DOH spokesperson told Upper East Site that a Commissioner’s Order to Abate — a letter containing guidance on how to fix the problem — was issued, and that a follow-up inspection will be conducted.

ALSO READ | UES Lawmaker Touts New Funding for ‘Cruel’ Rat-Killing Machine

“We all benefit if it’s cleaned up,” Georgia said. Having previously stated she would never dine at Jacques Brasserie again, she admitted that if the restaurant took what she sees as the necessary steps to fix the rat problem, she would consider it, though, “It seems like we’re past that.”

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