Is Cafe Zaiya Being Ruined by the DOH?

Got this scary letter from Lunch’er Amber yesterday re: one of our favorite Midtown Lunches of all time, Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. Mad+5th):

Was shocked to walk into Zaiya [yesterday] and see almost no food on display. The only thing in the center racks was bread – no bento boxes, no sandwiches, no rice bowls, nothing. Some of the center displays were completely empty. Some of the food was in the fridge cases, though – including hot savory pastries from the bakery side that usually sit on top of the bakery counter. It looked like they had just been put into that case from the oven, because they were wrapped in cellophane and there was steam/condensation trapped in the wrapper (which is pretty much just a horrible crime, since those pastries are not nearly as good if they are cold).

The fridge cases were pretty depleted, a lot of customers were wandering around looking confused and stressed, and every time a worker came out of the kitchen with new food, he was mobbed. This is a new issue – I go there pretty much every week – and I am afraid it’s probably the health dep’t dinging them for not storing food at the proper temperature. Hope they adjust quickly, because it was a real disaster today. I’m very much a fan of the grading system, but this makes me very sad.

It makes us sad too!  Zaiya is one of our favorite lunches of all time, and people have been eating there for years without any issues or complaints.  Not sure what the exactly rules are about keeping food out on shelves like the ones at Zaiya, but it would suck if the DOH ruined the place over some arbitrary rules.  The truth is nothing stays on those shelves very long anyway!

Our man Jeremiah checked it out today, and says that things seem back to normal (the photo above was from lunch today.)  But Zaiya’s last inspection didn’t go so well, and one of the issues listed was the temperature that foods are being kept at.  Hopefully they’ll get it all sorted out without being shut down… that would be a real bummer.

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1 Comment

  • I always wondered how they could get away with leaving that stuff out. Not that I have any complaints about it, but it seemed like an invitation for inspectorial intervention. Hope it all gets worked out.

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