HELL’S KITCHEN — No soup for you.
The diner where Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld reportedly ate as they came up with the concept for “Seinfeld” has closed temporarily after the Health Department found evidence of mice in the building.
The Westway Diner shuttered on Friday after the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found “evidence of mice activity,” food stored at the wrong temperature and “conditions conducive to vermin and pest activity” inside the eatery on Ninth Avenue, between West 43rd and West 44th streets, a department spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Additionally, some of the diner’s wiping cloths weren’t stored in sanitizing solution or were soiled, an inspection report on the department’s website noted.
Two managers at the diner Tuesday, however, said Health Department inspectors didn’t actually see any mice inside the eatery.
The department found “too many holes” inside the diner through which mice could sneak in and out, including holes created by unsealed pipes, manager Pete D., 28, who declined to give his last name, said.
“The building itself has issues, but since [the diner is] part of the same building, it affects the business,” Pete said. “I’m sure people’s minds jump to crazy things when they see ‘Health Department closed [signs].'”
Manager Alex Plaitakis, meanwhile, blamed the city for targeting small businesses while letting chains like Burger King and McDonald’s go unchecked.
“They close down small businesses — all the franchises never get bothered,” Plaitakis, 49, claimed. “New York is no longer friendly to small businesses.”
Since the diner closed, it has been carrying out plumbing renovations and fixing pipes that weren’t properly sealed, Pete D. noted.
Customers have been emailing the diner expressing concerns about the closure, he added.
The managers said they planned to reopen the eatery after a follow-up inspection scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and a spokeswoman for the Health Department confirmed the reopening inspection was scheduled for that date.
Plaitakis called mice activity in general “an epidemic the city should try to do something about.”
“This is New York — there’s certain issues you can’t get rid of,” he said. “[But] let our people know that we stand by our food, our quality and our cleanliness.”