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Burger King's Upscale Times Square Eatery Shut Down by Health Department

By Mathew Katz | June 19, 2012 6:55am
Officials from the Health Department closed the BK Whopper Bar after it failed two inspections in June 2012.
Officials from the Health Department closed the BK Whopper Bar after it failed two inspections in June 2012.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

TIMES SQUARE — This Burger King is dead meat.

City Health Department officials have shut down fast-food giant Burger King's BK Whopper Bar — a high-concept gourmet spin-off in Times Square that serves artisanal burgers — for the second time this month after inspectors found a host of violations there.

Customers who tried to order lunch at the Whopper Bar at 561 Seventh Ave., at West 40th Street, Monday were turned away by a yellow sign warning that the eatery had been closed because of health violations.

"I guess I'll go to McDonald's," said Fredericé Jones, 42, who said he was surprised that the restaurant he typically visited once a week was so filthy.

"I come here all the time," Jones added. "I know it's Burger King, but it's actually good."

The eatery opened to much fanfare in 2010, riding the coattails of the city's artisanal burger craze by offering ingredients like blue cheese, avocado and Tuscan pesto sauce.

But it fell from grace June 1, when city health inspectors shut it down after it racked up at least 82 violation points, including flies in the kitchen, unrefrigerated food and raw, cooked, or prepared food that was contaminated and then not thrown out, according to DOH records.

The eatery was shut down again June 14, when inspectors returned for a follow-up visit and found the flies still there and no place for employees to clean up.

"Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room," the department's report read.

"Soap and an acceptable hand-drying not provided."

Burger King officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The BK Whopper Bar introduced the 2,500-calorie New York Pizza Burger, made with four quarter-pound beef patties covered in pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce, along with the Meat Beast Whopper, which includes pepperoni and bacon. Unlike most Burger Kings, the company also planned to sell beer at the location, but eventually gave up on the idea.

Unfortunately for the fast-food giant, the concept never quite took off with New Yorkers, who largely panned the bar on Yelp, giving it a two-and-a-half star rating.

"Avoid this place at all costs," wrote reviewer Erik A. in 2011.