The Korean restaurant accused of putting a rat in a couple’s takeout order has been shut down by the New York City Department of Mental Hygiene over safety concerns.
Gammeeok failed to pass a health and safety inspection which included inspectors reportedly finding rat droppings inside the establishment in Midtown Manhattan.
In a statement to several outlets, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said health officials are continuing to investigate the restaurant and the claims.
‘Our top priority is protecting the health of New Yorkers and if a restaurant has conditions that threaten our city’s diners, they will be shut down,’ Fabien Levy said.
Gammeeok’s owners had pushed back on the claims made against their restaurant, even releasing footage earlier this week of servers preparing the couple’s food and saying the pair is lying about their accusations.
Gammeeok, a popular Korean restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, has closed after failing a safety inspection with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
A series of viral photos showed the rodent floating at the top of the container while entangled in what appeared to be vegetables and beef from Gammeeok restaurant
Eunice Lucero-Lee and her husband, Jason Lee, who posted the shocking video and photos of the meal on Monday, have filed a lawsuit against the restaurant
According to sources who spoke with TMZ, health department inspectors found rat droppings inside the restaurant earlier this week.
Additionally, the individuals said the restaurant did not have a trained supervisor on site or have food stored at the proper temperature.
The restaurant also reportedly did not have the correct permits, which they had been warned about by Health Department officials in the past.
In a statement, Levy told the outlet they were looked into the situation immediately after hearing the disturbing allegations against the establishment.
‘No New York City restaurant is authorized to have mice or rats on the menu and we are investigating further,’ Levy said.
If they want to reopen anytime soon, Gammeeok’s staff will need to correct the violations and pay any potential fines they were issued.
Signage posted on the restaurant’s doors show they have been shut down by the Health Department. Another sign says they are also closed for ‘maintenance.’
It’s been hit after hit for the once esteemed restaurant which vehemently denies the claims made by the couple who filed the lawsuit against their business.
The saga began after Eunice Lucero-Lee and husband Jason Lee posted shocking video and photos of their meal to Instagram on Monday.
In a stream of posts Wednesday, the restaurant hit back at the couple’s claims, saying they don’t ‘make sense.’
The restaurant claims the couple wrote a review for another Korean restaurant six years ago alleging they found ‘a large bug’ in their takeout soup, but deleted it after their post went viral.
The New York City Department of Health lists the restaurant as ‘closed’ currently
Records from the New York City Health Department showed that Gammeeok received 15 violations in the latest January 18 inspection
According to sources who spoke with TMZ, health department inspectors found rat droppings inside the restaurant earlier this week
Additionally, the individuals said the restaurant did not have a trained supervisor on site or have food stored at the proper temperature
‘No New York City restaurant is authorized to have mice or rats on the menu and we are investigating further,’ a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said
Gammeeok has repeatedly pushed back on the couple’s claims regarding the rat in their food
‘It’s a rare experience to most people in their whole life,’ Gammeeok wrote in one post that included the since-deleted review.
‘They remove the review now. Why?’ the restaurant asked, not specifying the eatery.
The post included a photo of a meal similar to the one that the Lees’ order with a fly floating at the top.
The couple has not responded to the claims made publicly by the restaurant.
A later comment added: ‘They hide their previous yelp review. After taking out at another Korean restaurant, they wrote a review on yelp saying a fly came out, but when we mentioned it, they hastily deleted it.’
Before being shut down, Gammeeok had a ‘C’ grade from the Health Department.
In Gammeeok’s response Instagram post, they included the video of their workers allegedly preparing the couple’s food to show a rat-less stew.
The restaurant also made a point to include a clip of staffers placing chopsticks in the bag of the completed order, after the Lees’ alleged in their post that the restaurant neglected to include them.
‘This is Gammaeok,’ the post begins. ‘It is understandable but regrettable that public opinion has deteriorated.’
‘Once, the person ordered food with ubereats. If a ‘rat’ came out, it could be argued as evidence saying ‘Look at this’ when they came to our store, but we didn’t see any real thing,’ the post continues.
The restaurant also addressed allegations that they offered a $5,000 bribe to the couple if they promised to keep quiet about the mishap.
They claim that never happened and the couple was offered a $100 gift card ‘in the spirit of always treating customer complaints in keeping a low profile.’
‘Our top priority is protecting the health of New Yorkers and if a restaurant has conditions that threaten our city’s diners, they will be shut down,’ the mayor’s spokesperson said
Despite Gammeeok’s pushback, Lucero-Lee urged people to avoid the restaurant at all costs
‘At the time of the first call, foreign substances came out of the food due to poor call quality, so the manager said he would give an ubereats refund guide and $100 gift card,’ the restaurant recalled of the alleged call with Jason, Eunice’s husband.
‘But he immediately asked for $5000,’ the restaurant alleged, adding that the man then demanded more money, to the tune of $25,000, after getting checked out at a local hospital.
‘After going to the hospital, he asked for the hospital bill,’ the restaurant wrote. ‘Right away he called and demanded $25,000. After that, we said we couldn’t afford it, so we said we are going to hire a lawyer to take action.
‘At the time of the incident, it was a weekend, so it was difficult to contact, and it was difficult to judge arbitrarily without the advice of a lawyer,’ Gammeeok went on to allege.
Aside from the rodent incident, records from the New York City Health Department showed that Gammeeok received 15 violations in the latest January 18 inspection.
Several of the violations showed the restaurant lacked proper protocols for sanitation, food safety and cleanliness.
One violation listed a sanitary concern of ‘Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage associated with (FRSA) flies or other nuisance pests in establishment’s food and/or non-food areas.’
‘FRSA flies include house flies, blow flies, bottle flies, flesh flies, drain flies, Phorid flies and fruit flies,’ the violation read.