The owner of a Bensonhurst hot-spot believes he was shut down because of rats — the ones in government, not the ones in his restaurant.
The Vegas Diner was allowed to reopen on Sunday after being shut down after their lunch rush on Feb. 28 by an inspector from the Department of Health. But even with the doors now open, the owner remains convinced that the process was unfair.
“We have been opened for 25 years and our reputation has always been fantastic,” said owner Ted Vlamis. “This is a case of DOH officers from Manhattan trying to look like they are doing their job after what happened at the Taco Bell [in Manhattan].”
Vlamis was referring to the infamous rat race in a Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell, where vermin were videotaped just one day after health inspectors gave it a clean bill.
Vlamis believes that now the DOH is scurrying around, looking for any little technical morsel it can pin on restaurant owners.
“Nobody is perfect, and they did find some cigarette butts behind the ice machine in the basement, and three of our cutting boards had scratches,” said Vlamis. “But it is ridiculous that we were shut down.”
The popular Bensonhurst diner, famous for its Greek omelets and cheesecake, was ordered to close at 1 pm, when DOH inspectors claim to have discovered food stored at an improper temperature, evidence of smoking, and the absence of proper food registration.
“The Vegas Diner had some significant problems and needs to do things differently,” DOH spokesman Andrew Tucker said at the time.
It wasn’t the first time the diner — twice named the best in Brooklyn by the Daily News — was cited.
The Vegas was also cited for “improperly maintained equipment” and having “cold food held above 41 degrees,” last February, but those violations weren’t severe enough to shut the diner down.
Vlamis remains steadfast in defending the integrity of his diner — and in his claims that the DOH has been nothing but a plague to his customers.
“We have lost some business,” Vlamis said. “But trust me, they won’t stay away from the Vegas Diner for long.”