EAST VILLAGE — The city Health Department shut down popular Avenue C bar The Sunburnt Cow, the Australian boozy-brunch spot that struggled to get back on its feet following Hurricane Sandy.
Inspectors found numerous health violations at the restaurant near the corner of East Ninth Street, including evidence of rats, food preparation surfaces that were not properly washed, as well as the cross-contamination of raw and prepared food, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's website.
The Sunburnt Cow clocked up 56 violation points in Friday's inspection, including the space not being considered "vermin proof" and its toilet facility not being well maintained and having no toilet paper, according to the Health Department's report.
The owner of the restaurant, Heathe St. Clair, blamed the continuing recovery from Hurricane Sandy for his restaurant's dismal inspection report.
"The hurricane and now this — it is a disaster," said St. Clair, who also owns The Sunburnt Calf on the Upper West Side.
Like other restaurants on Avenue C, the eatery's basement flooded during Sandy. Much of the avenue's establishments experienced months of gas, electricity and internet outages.
St. Clair said the majority of the inspection points had been racked up in the basement, which the restaurant now only uses to store beer and soda.
"We made it clear to them that we didn’t use the basement…but they [inspectors] insisted on going down there," he said. He added he nonetheless hopes to resume brunch service this coming weekend.
In February, The Sunburnt Cow managed to reopen after Con Edison had shut it down for a month due to safety concerns, according to St. Clair.
In 2011, the NYPD raided the Sunburnt Cow due to suspected illegal drug activity, according to the EV Grieve.