NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The 7 On Your Side Investigates team has found that dozens of delivery and pickup-only restaurants in New York City are not yet listed in the city's public online health grading database for restaurants.
The restaurants are housed in buildings throughout Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. Some of the buildings are home to at least 30 restaurants. The restaurants lease space from a corporate partner, such as Kitchen United or Cloud Kitchens. The concept was born out of COVID - offering food entrepreneurs the ability to operate a restaurant that is pickup and delivery only.
"I think there's a place for these spaces to exist and co-exist," Annette Nielsen, the executive director of Hunter College's New York City Food Policy Center, said. "It's just we need to really make sure that everybody's living up to the same standards."
Eyewitness News investigative reporter Kristin Thorne found more than half the restaurants associated with Cloud Kitchens' facilities - 42 of them - in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn are not listed in the city's restaurant health grading public database, ABC Eats. The New York City Health Department said it's because the restaurants are still going through the permitting process. Cloud Kitchens did not return repeated phone calls and emails seeking further clarification on why the restaurants in their buildings are in not in ABC Eats.
At Kitchen United's facility on West 38th Street, which opened in 2021, Eyewitness News found a sign for eight restaurants on the front door, but only three "A" letter grades. The names of the restaurants having the "A" grades did not match the names of the restaurants on the front door. Kitchen United said a company operates three of the restaurants, but it was unclear to Eyewitness News who operates the other restaurants in the building.
The DOH mentioned to Eyewitness News yet another company associated with Kitchen United's location on West 38th Street, but the department didn't clarify which restaurants operated under the company.
Nielsen said she was concerned with the confusion.
"I believe that if we can really standardize procedures for all models of food businesses, we will all be better off," she said.
The only restaurants Eyewitness News consistently found in ABC Eats from the restaurant buildings were chain restaurants, like Jersey Mike's, SoBol and Hawaiian Bros Island Grill.
The New York City Department of Health said Cloud Kitchens and Kitchen United themselves are not in ABC Eats because, they "provide space and other services for food service establishments, but do not prepare foods."
Kitchen United said, " Kitchen United is not a restaurant operator in either of our NYC locations. Each restaurant leasing a kitchen space is permitted by the municipality directly and is responsible for keeping their individual kitchens clean and food prepared in a safe way. Health safety scores are posted at the location for each restaurant operating."
The NYC DOH said all restaurants in the city are regulated and inspected.
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