Tale of Two Signs: Variety Cafe Closes for “Repairs”

48th St. between 5th and 6th was a madhouse today at lunchtime as shocked (and not so shocked), but mostly confused lunch’ers attempted to eat at Variety Cafe… which has been closed by the Health Department.

The funny thing is, they hung a sign next to the Health Department notice, claiming to be “closed due to improve our service”.  The sign went on to implore eaters to “look forward to our updated look and quality service… We will re-open as soon as possible.”  Apparently “updated look” will be the Variety Cafe, without a Health Dept. Closed notice on the front.

Apparently the two signs worked on one lady who walked away shaking her head exclaiming “Closed by the Health Department.  I just don’t understand…”  What’s there to understand lady.  It means the big salad you ate last week, probably had more then just the 6 toppings you chose.

Nothing has appeared on the NYC Health Dept. website yet explaining specifics about why Variety Cafe was closed.  Their last score was a 7 in 2005 (28 and above is failing).

EDITOR NOTE:  We have created a new “Closed for Health Reasons” Category, which given our content, and location will probably have to be used more often then any of us would like.  Hing Won, you’ve been warned. (Why are all my favorite places so dirty!)


  • Makes me wonder why they got closed. :)

  • John’s Shanghai on 46th b/t 6th and B’way got shut down as well this spring. It’s reopened, but I haven’t had the heart to go back, and it’s two doors down from my building.

  • A few weeks ago, I got a picture of one of the employees carrying a fly swatter in his back pocket. Worst part was, he was the employee shuffling food between the kitchen & hot bar.

    Disgusting – I guarantee you when we finally get the closure report it had to do with rats and insects.

  • I have eaten there once in awhile. But from now on when I go, I will bring in my own food.
    It is so crowded no one will ever know anyway.

  • OMG yeah it’s sketchy how these places survive but I am faithful based on the high turnover – do you know how many people go in and out of these delis? Damn they must serve several thousand people. I only go to the middle eastern dude in the back anyhow.


    Wow, looks like a nice healthy record of failures for variety.

    Mice, flying insects, and cross-contaminated food — who knew?

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