Salt Bae | June 8, 2021 8:11 AM | Hang Bona
Within just a few days of opening, “Salt Bae” Nusret Gökçe has been ordered to close his new Boston restaurant for failing to follow COVID-19 safety standards, the Boston Globe reported.
Gökçe, who went viral several years ago after videos showed him sprinkling salt dramatically over meat, is expected to face the city’s Licensing Board on Tuesday during two hearings.
The restaurant’s alcoholic beverage license has been suspended indefinitely, and the restaurant has been ordered to cease operations “due to the existing and imminent threat to public health and public safety resulting from ongoing and repeated failure to adhere to COVID-19 public safety standards”.
The Boston location is one of nearly a dozen restaurants operated by Gökçe under the “Nusr-Et” name.
TODAY Food has reached out to the Nusr-Et restaurant group for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Officials said that the city received complaints the day Nusr-Et opened, according to the Boston Globe; it was alleged that the steakhouse was not adhering to COVID-19 requirements.
On Boston’s 311 site, which allows citizens to file complaints, it appears that five complaints were written over the past 10 days.
Two reports filed on Sept 18, the restaurant’s opening night, describe the restaurant as crowded, with no social distancing.
Photos show crowded interiors and long lines outside with no distancing.
“Very crowded opening night at Nusr-Et, tables not 6 feet apart, some parties greater than 6,” wrote one person.
Another added that it was “super crowded” with “no social distancing measures at all”.
A detailed report, filed on Sept 25, described the scene inside the restaurant on the opening night.
“Many people inside (and waiting in line outside) were not wearing masks, including employees,” reads the complaint.
“Many tables were only 3ft apart and people were standing around the bar area without masks on, When we arrived, there was no one near the host stand, but by the time we left around 9 pm, there were 20-30 people standing around the host stand taking selfies and socializing without masks on”.
A fourth complaint, filed on Sept 19, said that the restaurant was doing a “terrible job with less than six (feet) between tables and lots of folks moving around without masks”.
City inspections of the restaurant began on Sept 19, the day after the restaurant opened.
Inspectors issued a violation for failure to adhere to COVID-19 requirements, according to the Boston Globe, specifically citing the restaurant’s “long line of patrons and failure to socially distance”.
On Sept 21, restaurant representatives were warned of repeated alleged violations, and officials requested the restaurant’s safety and security plan.
According to affiliate NBC Boston, the restaurant also did not obtain a health permit to operate.
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