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West Village Wine Bar Aria Shut Down by Health Dept. for Mice, Roaches

WEST VILLAGE — The Perry Street restaurant Aria Wine Bar gets rave reviews for its hip vibe and Italian food, but it's left city health inspectors far from impressed.

The 117 Perry St. eatery was shut down by the city on Thursday after inspectors found live roaches and evidence of mice, according to the city's website.

Aria racked up 52 violation points for infractions that included workers touching prepared food with their bare hands and improper protection of food from contamination.

Owner Tanya Hira said Monday afternoon she expected Aria would be ready to reopen for lunch Tuesday. She pointed out the restaurant earned "A" grades after inspections last March and August, and said adjacent construction projects had attracted vermin.

"We're stuck being closed for something we couldn't control," she said, estimating the business lost $10,000 each day it was closed.

The health department closure particularly stings combined with Aria's losses because of Hurricane Sandy, Hira said. The restaurant, which serves dishes including grilled lamb chops and vegetable lasagna, was closed for a month and a half because of storm damage.

Under the restaurant grading system the city introduced in July 2010, the Health Department immediately closes restaurants and bars with "conditions that may be hazardous to public health," according to its website.