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Dyckman Diner Cleared to Reopen after Health Department Closure

By Nigel Chiwaya | November 19, 2013 9:37am
 International Food House at 217 Dyckman St. was closed by the Department of Health on Nov. 12.
International Food House at 217 Dyckman St. was closed by the Department of Health on Nov. 12.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

INWOOD — Dyckman Street eatery International Food House was given the all-clear to reopen Monday afternoon after a weeklong Department of Health shutdown, officials said.

The eatery, located at 217 Dyckman St., was closed on Nov. 12, and officials pasted large white signs on the front door saying that the establishment was operating without a license.

However, Health Department officials released a statement saying the shutdown was caused by a litany of health violations.

"IFH El Buffet Restaurant/Alberto’s Mofongo House was cited for not having renewed their permit, but they were closed due to numerous public health hazards that could not be corrected at the time of the inspection," the DOH wrote in a statement Monday. "They were authorized to re-open today."

DOH inspectors issued the eatery 102 points for issues including live roaches, flies, and shellfish from unapproved sources, according to the agency website. A second inspection on Nov. 16 showed most of the issues corrected, and the restuarant scored 19 points, according to the website. 

Restaurant general manager Alberto Nunez blamed the closure on the DOH Monday, saying the agency never sent International Food House the proper paperwork to renew a license that expired on Oct. 31.

When asked how much the shut down cost him in business, Nunez shook his head and said “I don’t have a number, but it’s a lot.”

International Food House, which is divided into 24-hour diner called El Buffett and an Italian Restaurant, has been plagued by problems since it opened last year. The restaurant was the site of an early-morning brawl on New Year’s day in which an argument over a bathroom line led to customers flinging glass Tabasco bottles at each other.

In April, Manhattan’s Community Board 12 voted against renewing the restaurant’s on-premise liquor license after customers complained of rowdy conditions and out-of-control patrons. However, the license was renewed by the State Liquor Authority on May 1, records show.