Morningside Heights Is A Den Of Filth

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Media Luna Mexican Deli did not fare so well.

The Health Department is, as of this summer, requiring that every restaurant in New York display the letter grades they most recently received for cleanliness.

This is a nightmare for everyone; it’s rare that any restaurant will sneak away with no health violations. The grades will be assigned during the next year, when the Health Department conducts its next rounds of inspections. The grades will be issued as follows: 0-13 points gets an A, 14-27 a B, and 28 and above a C. You know, like Calc II.  This numbered rating system, however, is due to be made more lenient (after all, who cares about burned-out lightbulbs?) before the letter grades are assigned so the correlation between numbers and letters isn’t accurate just yet.

In the meantime, that Health Department has created a website that lists the violations of every restaurant in the city after their most recent inspection. The results from Morningside are occasionally surprising (Hewitt/John Jay) and generally terrifying (there are mice everywhere). Here’s a list of the most popular Columbia restaurants and bars. We note when they were most recently reviewed and pick their most notable violations. Individual links don’t work, but if you want to go through every single one of them, go here for 10025 and here for 10027 and start clicking. These restaurants will probably maybe get their shit together in the next year so that they don’t get big old fat B’s in the window once the next round of inspections starts. We can but pray.

  • As of February 23rd, Deluxe, blissfully, has a mere 5 points for its plumbing (which a friend of Bwog’s may be partially accountable for, as she got her pregnancy test stuck in the toilet. Whoops!) Mill Korean has 2 points for plumbing.
  • Brownie’s, you are angelic. 0 points as of last September.
  • Vareli and Maoz each have 2 points, Maoz because it does not have an “immersion basket.” Noobs!
  • As of January, Koronet has a dazzling, sparkling 4 points for plumbing. The Heights also has 4 for mysterious pesticide use as of January.
  • Law School’s Lenfest has 7 for bad toilets as of last November.
  • Cafe East also has 7 as of May for improper cold food storage.
  • Cafe 212 has 8 for inadequate lighting improper “non-food contact surface” construction. So, phew. Last inspected last September.
  • As of last August, Symposium has only 5 points, even though the food sometimes tastes like it has been bathed in chlorine.
  • After a rough 62 violations in June 2009, Campo bounces back with 4.
  • Strokos has 9 violations as of January, one for cold food behind held above 41 ºF.
  • Carleton Lounge in Mudd has 9 as of last December for evidence of mice.
  • As of January, Dinosaur BBQ has 10 for bizarre internal food cooling/heating measures.
  • Ferris Booth gets 12 as of last December for improper cold food storage.
  • Lion’s Head gets 11 as of last February. “Evidence of mice or live mice.” Now it begins, friends.
  • Thai Market has 14 as of March, for improper cleaning.
  • As of May, Uris gets 14 for improper food surface cleaning.
  • JTS: 15, for evidence of mice as of February.
  • The Diana Cafeteria gets 14 as of April for improper cold food storage and undated or expired milk.
  • Heartbreak: M2M gets 15 as of July, for evidence of mice, improper cleaning, “evidence of flying insects” and “inadequate personal cleanliness.”
  • Butler Cafe got 18 in March for the thermometer rule and improper cold food storage.
  • As of June 4th, Ollie’s also gets 15 for cold food held above 41 ºF and evidence of mice.
  • La Negrita, or 999, or whatever, has 15 as of July 8th, but no mice!
  • As of June, Taqueria has 17 points (coulda been worse) for cold food held above 41 ºF but no vermin!
  • John Jay Dining Hall, the would-be mother of them all, got 18 last July for evidence of mice, rats and flying insects.
  • As of last September, Columbia Cottage has 21 points for cold food storage and some weird problem with a thermometer.
  • Le Monde was last inspected in April, and got 21 points for spoiled food. Fun fact: Bwog once found a caterpillar in our salad at Le Monde, but they were very nice about it.
  • Cannon’s, which the Health Department spells “Gannon’s” gets 21 for improper handwashing, a bad bathroom, etc. Last inspected in March.
  • Max Soha has 23 points as of January for mice, flying insects and improper food surface cleaning.
  • Kitchenette got 23 last December for roaches and improper cold food storage.
  • Some actually shocking news: Hewitt has 5 more points than John Jay, clocking in at 23 as of March, for food unprotected from contamination, improper thawing procedures, and improper lighting.
  • Roti Roll, or “Roti Rill” according to the Department, gets a 25 (still not a C, right!) for flying insects and improper cold food storage. Inspected in July.
  • Tom’s, last inspected in September 2009, gets 21 for the weird thermometer problem and improper cold food storage.
  • Vine, inspected in March, stores neither hot nor cold food correctly, and gets a 22.
  • As of March, Nussbaum has 23: evidence of mice.
  • Faculty House, fanciest place in the 100-27, gets 25 for evidence of mice and improper storage or usage of sanitized equipment as of March.
  • Havana Central has evidence of mice and spoiled food as of March; 24 points.
  • Inspected in January, 1020 shocks and awes with 22 points for improper handwashing facility/toilet area.
  • Hungarian: 22 points for evidence of mice and rats as of January.
  • We knew Pinkberry was made of weird animals. Well, psych, but it is apparently made of unpasteurized milk, earning it a whopping 30 points.

More listings, while we’re at it: in the Princeton Review 2011 college listings, Columbia was listed as being in a “great college town.” Unclear if that’s Morningside Heights or New York, but you make your own guesstimate. The Princeton Review also ranked the Top 20 best college newspapers. Guess who’s missing?

Update: And we almost forgot Pinnacle—21 points as of February, for evidence of mice, milk improperly dated/expired.

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  1. Anonymous


  2. Ugh

    It's incredible: $50,000+ a year, and Columbia can't be bothered to ensure sanitary dining facilities.

  3. At least...

    Pinnacle doesn't provide the catering services for John Jay and Hewitt dining halls... Why aren't they mentioned in the above listing? They probably have like 69 infractions. I used the number 69 because my recaptcha was, "sensual pleasure-seeking" hahaha.

  4. jeez

    wtf, john jay/hewitt? i'm working in a cafeteria this summer, and i can now say from experience that it is simply NOT that difficult to keep food fresh, clean, and stored properly. it just isn't. especially since our dining halls seem to have a gazillion people working there.

  5. Anonymous

    Where is HamDel on this list?!?!


  6. Unpasteurized?

    Why would Pinkberry buy unpasteurized milk in the first place?

  7. See,  

    This is exactly why my diet consists solely of Westside Yogurt cup parfaits.

  8. Anonymous

    From the list or 20 best college newspaper, I wouldn't have to guess that the Spec is missing from that list. The constant bombardment of stupid leftist opinions are probably the reason.

  9. booo

    all my favorite junk eating spots!! my m2m cheeseburger will never taste as good again...

    and that max soha and kitchenette are just as bad. why are the classy places still so dirty??

  10. What's with

    the symposium hate. their food is great and with 20% off every tursday, Its the only sit down place i can afford
    And seriously we all know M2M is pretty filthy. doesn't stop me from getting their chicken wrap though.
    Can't wait for the Mel's burger bar!

  11. Confused

    How can Butler Cafe score so low? All they have is coffee, yogurt and donuts. And now they're only open like 1 hour a week, and not when you're studying. How can Columbia fuck that up? Unbelievable.

    Also, LAWL LAWL LAWL at faculty house. We're all treated like cattle, even the professors.

    Ah, food sanitation. The great leveler.

  12. Whoa  

    Now we all know who you are.

  13. Anonymous  

    I witnessed a rat with wings in Hewitt dining hall. And it was flying!

  14. Let's

    Sue CU & Barnard for their shitty unsanitary conditions. Gotta luv USA u can sue anyone for anything!

  15. Alum

    Faculty House is the "fanciest place in the 100-27"? What happened to The Terrace, which is (was?) located in the penthouse of Butler Hall on 119th at Morningside Drive?

  16. Alum

    Also, I think most of the restaurants you list are in 10025. The post doesn't actually say they're all in 10027, but it could be read that way.

  17. hmm

    what about community?

  18. By the way

    Bwog, what about Milano?

  19. Anybody else

    surprised and impressed that Brownie's Cafe got zero violation points? Considering that the place is located in the basement of a rather old building, and next to the basement of another, I'd say that's quite remarkable. Although personally the place hasn't always seemed exquisitely clean to me.

  20. good news!

    can't find crack del/109 on that list!!! i will still be able to buy my 40's and sandwiches in peace, knowing my food is safe.

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