Restaurateurs aren't exactly big fans of the Department of Health (see: the guy who got big fines, he says, for photographing an inspector working) but the Daily News today notices an interesting way that some are getting out of the standard inspections entirely: Just claim to be a supermarket or a warehouse!
Pinning numbers on how many of the 14,202 wholesalers and supermarkets in the state are really just restaurants in disguise is tricky, but it does seem to (anecdotally) be more than a few—though not, we'll point out, some of the notable recent high-end restaurant/stores like Urban Rustic and Jeffrey's Market. As one Brooklyn restaurant owner explains it, these fakestermarkets "don’t have to deal with the city and all the new crazy laws." Carefully ignoring the fact the DOH is actually actively trying to make its rules easier!
Anyway, the way that places like the Village's Bagels on the Square get away without traditional inspections despite serving up "myriad goodies, including wraps, cheese sandwiches and salads," is by arguing that, since the market aspect of their shops make up more than half of their business they are markets and therefore under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture which inspects far less frequently (and doesn't make you put a sign in your window).
But the DOH, meanwhile, isn't worried: "We have no evidence of businesses setting themselves up to fall into a particular jurisdiction," John Kelly, a spokesman for the Health Department, told the News. "Restaurants are recognizing the power and importance of an A in the window. More than 77 percent of N.Y.C. restaurants now have A’s. The dining public likes seeing that."