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Seward Park Co-op Moves to Evict Kosher Pizzeria; Owner Vows to Stay

Shalom Chai at 357 Grand St., the last sit-down kosher restaurant on the LES, may be locked out on Wednesday.

Two Weeks After Closure, Shalom Chai Pizza Struggles to Re-Open

Shalom Chai Pizza, 357 Grand Street.

Shalom Chai Pizza, 357 Grand Street.

Here’s an update on the situation at Grand Street’s Shalom Chai Pizza, one of the only kosher restaurants remaining on the Lower East Side.  The place was closed by the Department of Health two weeks ago.  An inspector cited the “evidence of mice,” “tobacco use” in food preparation areas and many other violations.

The restaurant, at 357 Grand St., is owned by David Tgar.  A man answering the phone yesterday hung up before we could ask him any questions.  But Frank Durant, general manager of the Seward Park Co-op (Shalom Chai’s landlord) said a Department of Health hearing is expected to take place tomorrow. Durant said he’s heard from many local residents who are concerned about the closure.  Since Passover begins Monday evening, it seems likely Shalom Chai will be closed a good deal longer, even if the Health Department clears it to re-open.

Health Department Closes Shalom Chai Pizza at 357 Grand St.

Shalom Chai Pizza, 357 Grand Street.

The New York City Health Department closed Shalom Chai Pizza, the kosher restaurant at 357 Grand Street.  The inspection details that resulted in the move are not yet available online but a notice from the DOH indicates the business was ordered closed today.  Shalom Chai was last inspected February 14, and received 43 violation points.

Among the items cited in that report: “the presence of mice or live mice,” “personal cleanliness inadequate” and “facility not vermin proof.” This is not the restaurant’s first run-in with the Health Department.  In May of last year, it was shuttered after receiving 75 violation points.


Shalom Chai Pizza on Grand Closed by Health Department

Shalom Chai Pizza, 357 Grand Street.

The New York City Health Department closed Shalom Chai Pizza, 357 Grand Street, earlier this week.  In an inspection on Tuesday, the kosher restaurant racked up 75 violation points.  Among the items detailed in the report: hot food items held at below 140 degrees, cold food items held below 41 degrees, evidence of mice and “food contact surface not properly washed.”

This week’s inspection was a follow-up to a Health Department inspection conducted May 1.  Shalom Chai remains closed this afternoon. The business is located in a troubled retail strip owned by the Seward Park Cooperative.  In recent weeks, the building’s management contemplated renting space to 7 Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts, but backed down when residents protested.