Cer Te Says DOH is Causing the “McDonaldization of NYC”
Despite being one of our favorite places in all of Midtown for sandwiches, Cer Te (on 55th btw. 5+6th) has been battling poor Department of Health scores ever since the city started hanging letter grades on the windows. They dressed up their “B” back in September, and last week a tipster pointed out that the B is now a C. And they’re hiding it all the way at the bottom of the door.
Two lunchers decided to take them to task in the comments, and Cer Te responded with this…
Dear Midtown Readers:
Just to give you some insight on Cer te’ and our challenges with the DOH. Our philosophy is to give a “from scratch” high quality product, with value. This presents many challenges in the Midtown area due to landlords, vendors & the DOH. The website that you read was built on the notion of getting a great lunch at great price. The reason why this has not been possible in Midtown is because of the amount of each sq. ft. costs. That is why the only options are mainly fast food and high-end dining. What we do in a 3,200 sq. ft. place would take a normal restaurant about 10,000 sq. ft. As we grow, we refuse to take short cuts such as ready made food. The violations we received are mainly based on non-food items. We are committed to buying from the right sources and ensuring that we feed our customer the proper product.
Without realizing, the DOH is contributing to the McDonaldization of NYC and we refuse to bend. After all, it is much easier to store frozen & canned products, than fresh products. We are adamant about preparing our food on-premise and not having a hidden off-premise commissary that is under the radar of the DOH. The DOH hardly grades on cleanliness & they do not reward for superior products. They are more concerned about temps and holding points. We lost 15 points just on the fact the building did not have hot water, although we have a booster that heats the water as it comes through our space. We are currently appealing the C, which is why we have not displayed the sign. Anyone is welcome to take a tour of both facilities, Pizza by Certe’ (3 star Certified Green Restaurant) and Certe’… at anytime. If you do not have time to come back, go to the DOH website and read the actual violations we received. We are patiently waiting our next inspection, which we feel confident that we will receive the A that is due to us.