At noon on Friday, a towncar driver in a black suit stood beside his parked Lincoln, staring at the shuttered storefront at 331 Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village.
“This is the place from the TV, right?” he asked.
This is, indeed, the place—one month to the day, in fact, after the infamous video of rats running amok inside the two-pronged fast-food joint triggered a Health Department crackdown on restaurants citywide.
“It was a rat party,” the parked driver said, laughing. “The rats were having a party.”
Just this week, inspectors slammed the door on Papaya Dog on the Upper East Side after news crews filmed rats at that location, too.
Some eateries that inspectors initially shut down have since reopened. But not the place that started it all, which remains a quiet monument to the original scampering spectacle.
Two bright yellow signs, reading “CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE,” remain affixed to the papered windows. Passers-by have added plenty of their own comments to the garish placards, ranging from “TRY OUR NEW BURRATO!” to “THE REAL RATS OWN THIS PLACE!” One amateur cartoonist drew a rat head sticking out of an “X-TRA CRISPIE” bucket.
“They should sell it,” suggested the spectating driver, as he returned to his car and then drove off.
Operator ADF Companies, which closed a number of its KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut franchises in the city after the debacle, announced in a March 1 statement that the venues will all reopen once “they are fully inspected and given a clean bill of health.”
A company spokesperson has yet to return phone calls seeking an update.
- Chris Shott