KID-FRIENDLY SPOT SUGAR & PLUMM CLOSED BY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

sugar plumm

Sugar & Plumm, the restaurant at 377 Amsterdam Avenue between 78th and 79th Street, was shut down on Wednesday by a city Health Department inspector, who said there were mice or evidence of mice in the restaurant. It was still closed on Friday when Terry took the photo above.

The full list of violations is below. Restaurants tend to reopen within days of receiving these kinds of violations, following a reinspection.

Violation points: 52
Sanitary Violations
1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
2) Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours.
3) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
4) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
5) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

Thanks also to Bill for the tip.

FOOD, NEWS | 17 comments | permalink
    1. B.B. says:

      Fact of Manhattan life, mice are everywhere. If you don’t take steps to seal a building properly and preventive extermination measures they will get in.

      Go to the DOH website and look at any area of Manhattan; UWS, UES, West Village, the lot, and you’ll find tens of not scores of food handling/related establishments cited for vermin.

      Those rating signs in windows mean nothing. Have passed many a place (and am not naming any names…) and seen more mice scurrying around than one of those old Looney Tunes cartoons. Yet they all had an “A” rating in the window.

      Several exterminator friends have told me that nearly every single building in Manhattan has at least mice in their cellars. Given the age of many NYC buildings this isn’t a surprise.

      • Spence Halperin says:

        Too bad B.B. did not read the article. There are many other violations besides mice:

        1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
        2) Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours.
        3) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
        4) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
        5) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

        • B.B. says:

          Too bad you didn’t understand my post.

          Read the entire article, thank you very much, however my comments regarding rodents was in general.

          Have a nice day.

    2. Steve Wildfire says:

      What a shame. Now where will I get my $10 milkshakes?

    3. EricaC says:

      I thought you were going to say it was because there was too much sugar.

    4. Bob Lamm says:

      As of late afternoon Saturday, Sugar & Plumm is still closed. They have six signs–four outside the restaurant, two on their inner doors–saying they have closed due to “technical issues” and will reopen on Monday night. This is quite clever. Their six signs will mainly obscure the crucial yellow sign on an inner door stating that they’ve been closed by the Health Department. I guess the five sanitary violations outlined above are “technical issues.” 🙂

      • JB says:

        I refused to go there years ago when there were live!flies in their cases of sweets. So gross and unsanitary. Saw this on several occasions & then decided couldn’t deal & never went again.

      • UWSSurfer says:

        “Technically” they have mice, don’t properly wash their surfaces and don’t keep their food cold enough.

    5. Dan says:

      Having previously been an owner of a UWS restaurant, I can tell you the best way of eliminating mice is having a cat. But that’s another violation.

    6. Cato says:

      You can’t tell from the list of violations alone why the restaurant was closed. You need also to see the degree of each violation to understand where it accumulated the fatal points.

      For example, there might have been one lone mouse dropping in a back corner of the basement. That would have given the restaurant violation # 3 (as well as # 5, see below), while producing minimal points. The code recognizes that there are mice everywhere, as other commenters have pointed out, though of course it encourages restaurant owners to do everything they can to insulate from them.

      On the other hand — and I’m just illustrating here, I have no idea what the actual write-up was — the restaurant may have had cases of cold food (milk, for example) just left out of the refrigerator. Lots of points there, and frankly lots of threat to your health. Unsanitary food is a lot more dangerous to the customer than a mouse finding its way into a corner of the basement, and so it can yield many more points (and ultimately close the joint).

      Similarly # 2 — if a restaurant leaves prepared food out, without cooling it quickly enough (usually a sign of laziness by the preparers), it can make you sick when it’s served. Recognized as a dangerous situation, there may have been lots of points here.

      Finally, keep in mind that inspectors will write up a restaurant for *both* # 3 (evidence of mice) *and* # 5 (facility not vermin proof), based on one piece of evidence (for example, that lone mouse dropping). Both regulations are in the code, so the inspector is technically correct to find two violations. On administrative review, the two will almost always be combined into one, since they arose from exactly the same facts, and the total points therefore reduced accordingly.

      I’m just guessing, but having seen other such situations I would guess that the place was closed mostly for pervasive bad food handling (# 4 fits in here, too), not (just) for mice. Mice and flies are a bad thing, but unless the restaurant is overrun they’re not likely to shut it down.

    7. ekaje says:

      I remember when this overpriced “sugar” restaurant (with lying notices re: “technical issues”) was a variety of useful and reasonably priced shops, including a diner. Ah, greed. Of course, if they go out of business, what will move in: a bank?

      • Ground Control says:

        Ah yes. Those were the days. Small businesses which were needed, wanted and affordable for the community. That’s an old model now I’m afraid.

    8. Duke says:

      I wonder if the mice had diabetes…

    9. JP says:

      omg! I passed by it yesterday and there were signs on the window saying closed due to techincal issue.

    10. Bob Lamm says:

      As of Monday at 1:30 p.m., Sugar and Plumm’s six “fake news” signs about being closed for “technical issues” are gone. They remain closed and the yellow closure sign from the health department is still on their inside door. Their “fake news” signs had said they would reopen tonight. There are staff members inside the restaurant. Presumably they are waiting for someone from the health department to do another check.

    11. Helen says:

      my first visit to Sugar and Plum was a disaster and haven’t been there since. I notified the waiter that my daughter is highly allergic to all nuts especially peanuts and asked to handle her order carefully. Guess what? She ended up with Peanut Butter icecream!!! Apparently, they mistakenly put the peanut butter icecream tub in the dulce de leche section. My daughter had an immediate reaction and my husband had to run/carry her to our home which was a block away to administer necessary medication. We were traumatized and the manager was apologetic and took our information. We NEVER heard from them!! So I’m not surprised they are careless with their food handling and mice droppings.. If they didn’t care to follow up on a 4 year old girl from the neighborhood having breathing issues directly as a result of their carelessness, they certainly won’t care if customers get sick from eating their food that was mishandled.

    12. JB says:

      Noticed it was reopened today when I passed by.