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The Lot Radio Temporarily ‘Shut Down’ by Health Department, Hit With Several Violations

The Lot Radio at 17 Nassau Ave. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

Jan. 23, 2019  By Laura Hanrahan

The Lot Radio, the beloved Nassau Avenue spot that streams music from a reclaimed shipping container and doubles as a small cafe, has been temporarily “shut down” by the city’s Health Department after the agency apparently discovered several public health concerns on site.

The establishment, located on a triangular lot at 17 Nassau Ave. for the past three years, racked up seven violations that include serving food and drinks without a connection to the city’s water supply, lacking an on-site bathroom for employees, and operating without a food protection certificate after a Jan. 16 DOH inspection.

While the site remains open today, it is no longer offering its menu of coffee, beer, sandwiches, and more from its kiosk as its owner, Francois Vaxelaire, attempts to work out solutions to the problems.

Vaxelaire posted a sign in the window of the public radio studio almost a week after the inspection that explained the business’ side of affairs.

The DOH, according to the Jan. 22 note, had pushed back on the Lot Radio since its opening in 2016, when it refused to issue a permit to allow food to be served on site, noting that the cafe stand was not up to the standard code.

Photo: Nathaly Pesantez

Vaxelaire says he then sought out an alternative license from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and that The Lot Radio had been operating under a permit by the state agency for the past three years.

“They also thought it was a good project worth fighting for and decided to take us under their authority,” Vaxelaire’s note reads.

A DAM spokesperson, however, claimed that the state agency did not receive any applications from The Lot Radio, nor did it issue any license to the business.

Vaxelaire told the Greenpoint Post that he is currently working with the DOH to obtain restaurant code exemptions that would allow The Lot Radio to operate as it had over the past years.

The Lot Radio’s menu (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

The exemptions would allow the business to have its water system legalized in the same way that a food truck’s set up is, and to count the bathroom at the neighboring San Damiano Mission Catholic church—which has had an open-door agreement with The Lot Radio since its opening—as adequate facilities for employees, among other fixes.

Whether the exemptions are approved will be up to the discretion of the DOH, but Vaxelaire says he is “fairly optimistic” about the outcome.

Until the kitchen can reopen, The Lot Radio will continue on with its regularly scheduled radio programming, and will host its three year anniversary party on Feb. 9 at Brooklyn Bazaar.

A letter posted at The Lot Radio by the owner. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

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