Another popular Upper East Side coffee shop known for its mellow vibes has been shut down by the New York City Department of Health, however, signs in the window might make you think it was reasons other than the critical sanitary violations an inspector found inside. That’s simply not the case, according to the Health Department, which says unsafe conditions are the reason for the closure.
In addition to its java, Mellow Yellow Coffee & Vibes, located at 1729 First Avenue, between East 89th and 90th Streets in Yorkville, is known for its light Mediterranean bites, like the Pita Zaatar with Lebanese cheese and tomato or the Shakshuka Sandwich featuring poached eggs with tomatoes sauce.
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Now, the restaurant is dark inside and the unmistakable bright yellow notice reading “Closed by Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene,” is stuck to the front door of coffee shop, accompanied by two other handwritten signs claiming the closure is due to a paperwork issue.
However, according to the NYC Health Department, Mellow Yellow racked up a total of 43 violation points during its inspection last Friday, January 27th — the coffee shop’s second in January — with violations issued over rodents, insects and a lack of food handling safety training and testing required by the City.
The inspection revealed evidence of mice in the establishment, including conditions “conducive to rodents, insects or other pests.” Filth flies or the waste associated with those type of insects were also found inside, according to the Health Department.
Meanwhile, handwritten signs in the window claim that last Friday’s closure is the result of an expired license to operate, not concerns over food safety.
“Health Dept. should inspect food, not paper,” one message says, while another reads “Sorry we forgot to renew business license, oops [sic].”
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A photocopy of the business’ Food Service Establishment license is also taped to the glass with the expiration date, July 31st, 2022, highlighted and annotated as evidence for passers-by or would be customers to read.
The Health Department confirms to Upper East Site the restaurant “was closed for evidence of mice and flies, conditions conducive to pests and not having a supervisor on site who is trained in food protection, as is required.”
Upper East Site reached out to Mellow Yellow for comment, but did not hear back by time of publication.
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