A Bay Ridge baker left the door to her 87th Street sweetshop open to lure in customers with her sugary treats — but instead attracted a city health inspector who slammed her with a citation for her illegal open-door policy.
The Health Department investigator summonsed Ivy Bakery owner Daniellan Louie on April 29 for allegedly violating health code section 81, subsection 23 — which specifically requires “all openings into the outer air be effectively screened and self-closing … to prevent the access by insects and other pests.”
But Louie claims she’s never had bug problems — and will fight the city’s attempt to force her to bar her door.
“I open the door because I don’t have any ventilation,” said Louie. “When I’m baking, it’s about 100 degrees with the doors closed. It’s hard to breathe.”
The open door isn’t just a means of cooling the Ivy Bakery — it’s also a needed form of advertising for the shop, which offers a wide array of cupcakes, pastries and pies.
“When I have the door open, I have people coming in from blocks away saying they can smell the brownies and the cookies that I’m making,” said Louie, whose shop is on a side street away from the hustle and bustle of Third Avenue. “When I have the door closed, I have fewer customers.”
Louie — who was also cited for not wearing a hair net — claims the violation is unfair because so many other eateries keep their doors open.
“There are pizzerias, delis, and butchers that all have their doors open all the time,” she said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Other Brooklyn bakers agree that open doors are a common — and eco-friendly — way to cool their stifling storefronts and attract customers.
“In this energy conscious era, you’d think it would be okay to keep the door open instead of using the air conditioner,” said Eric Goetze, owner of Blue Sky Bakery on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. “It seems like an outdated rule.”
Despite the baker’s objections, the city says it’s an open and shut case when it comes to doors.
“Health Code requires all openings to a food service establishment ... prevent the entry of pests that may contaminate food,” said Department of Health spokeswoman Erin Brady. “Any food service establishment in violation of this requirement will be cited upon inspection.”
This is hardly the first time that local businesses have gotten hit where it hurts — the wallet — from the enforcement of obscure city ordinances.
Last December, a new pet shop in Clinton Hill almost screwed the pooch when the Department of Sanitation unloaded 116 tickets on it for illegal fliers.
The same agency also snared merchants for deploying A-frame signs more than three feet into the sidewalk.
©2009 Community News Group
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