Today the Times tells us that the Waverly Inn failed a recent health inspection. Presumably something to do with celebrity infestation. As far as we’re concerned, the more compelling story lies nearby at 239 West 4th Street, the address of another subterranean eatery, Fedora. On the night of Friday the 13th, a health inspector informed the former speakeasy’s proprietress of 55 years, 87-year-old Fedora Dorado, that he was shutting her down for 129 points worth of violations ranging from not having a sink behind the bar to evidence of mice (the restaurant has a garden). We reached her at her restaurant to hear a tale as woeful as the Inhouse Nosh saga.
“I’m 87 years old,” Dorado told us. “It’s not worth going through what I’m going through, but my head and heart say it’s worth it. This isn’t how I want to close.” Dorado, whose father-in-law has owned the building since 1918 and who immigrated from Italy in 1930, estimates that she will spend $6,000 in repairs before she can reopen (she hopes this weekend), not to mention a $1,000 fine for operating without a permit (there was paperwork confusion, she says) and the money she is paying her longtime staff while she’s closed. Dorado says she spent six-hour days getting the runaround at the DOH’s offices (“They’re so crowded I’m surprised someone didn’t take out a gun”) before hiring an expediter to sort everything out. “What makes me sick inside,” she says, “is, in 55 years, why was I never told that I needed this plumbing, these sinks?” We don’t have the answer to that, but we know this much — in this fine weather, the closure of a West Village garden is criminal.