Is NYC Finally Cracking Down on Supper Clubs? (Updated)

Is the Health Department targeting in-home dining clubs? Photo: Worth Kitchen

When we profiled the new breed of supper club a few months back, our calls to the city Health Department turned out to be comical dead ends. We hung up with the happy impression that no one knew any of this was going on: A glorious age of dinner-club anarchy! Well, now it appears the city might be wising up. Worth Kitchen wrote in to say that it received a cease-and-desist letter from the Health Department, demanding that it stop the weekly in-home dinners it's been hosting for the past year. Its landlord also received a similar letter for "premises being operated as an unpermitted food service establishment" — not good! When we reached out to other supper clubs on our radar, none of them reported having been targeted, though many are quite peripatetic and therefore possibly tougher to pin down. Still, know that this is going on. The full text of the letter is below.

Service of Order of the Commissioner - NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

TO: [Redacted]
operator(s) of a food service establishment
without a permit
[Redacted; this is the building management company]
premises being operated as
an unpermitted food service establishment,

Attached is an Order of the Commissioner, ordering that you immediately close and cease and desist from operating any food service establishment at these premises or preparing and/or serving food to the public. A copy of this Order has also been mailed to the addresses listed above and may be served in person at the location shortly. If you have any questions regarding this Order, please contact the Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation at the phone number listed in the Order.

John Santalesa
Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
253 Broadway, 12th Floor
NYC, NY 10007
(212) 676-1611

Supper clubbers, be careful!

Update: That was fast: Today Worth Kitchen updated its blog to say that it will cease its in-home dinners. However, the post says that "Worth Kitchen will continue to have its amazing dinner parties [the larger, paid events described in the story] (We now have our permits in order!)" The first post-shutdown event will be called ... "Funeral For a Friend." See the full post here.