LOWER EAST SIDE — A crepe shop that was forced to close in September for not having a bathroom recently reopened with a tiny toilet.
LES Crepes, an 80-square-foot restaurant at 25 Essex St., was shut down by the Department of Health on Sept. 6 after the city ordered its owner to install a bathroom for employees.
"I complied," Oli Balasa, the owner of the space, said Tuesday, "and they let me reopen."
The 4-foot-by-4-foot bathroom, carved from former counter space, has all the basics — a toilet, a sink and even a mirror. It cost Balasa $2,500 to build.
The crepe spot was closed for more than a month while Balasa built the bathroom, and he estimates that the eatery lost several thousand dollars in income during that time. The restaurant had been open for just six weeks before the Health Department shut it down during its first inspection.
"It wasn't fair for it to happen to us," Balasa said, noting that he has worked in the restaurant industry in New York for about 10 years and knows of plenty of other restaurants the same size or larger without bathrooms.
The Department of Health allowed LES Crepes to reopen after an inspection Oct. 10.
Alysse Rodriguez, 21, who works at LES Crepes, estimates that she lost $1,500 during her month out of work. Before the restaurant got its own bathroom, she used to go to a video game repair shop next door to use its facilities — and she preferred that to the new in-house loo.
"I try not to go because now when I'm in there I hear the customers waiting and saying hello," Rodriguez said. "Now they see me come out of the bathroom. It's weird."