Upper East Side Pizzeria Has Operated Without a Permit for Months

Owner says those who complain are "jealous"

A popular Upper East Side pizzeria has been selling slices without a permit for nearly a year since it reopened down the street from its old location.

Zesty’s was a neighborhood fixture for nearly 30 years before the restaurant reportedly lost its lease and had to relocate to an old laundromat at the corner of Third Avenue and East 93rd Street.

Now called Zesty Pizzeria & Salumeria, the restaurant opened last June without getting the required green light from the Health Department.

The department this week cited the restaurant for operating without a permit and other violations including food temperature and rodent activity. Those are relatively common violations among restaurants in the city.

The Buildings Department previously cited Zesty for building its back deck without a permit.

Asked by NBC 4 New York on Wednesday why the pizza place didn’t have a letter grade in the window, owner Salvatore Grimaldi said they “just got it yesterday.”

The company was inspected on Tuesday, and was told told to apply immediately for a permit, the Health Department said.

Grimaldi said "of course" his restaurant could open before receiving their letter grade.

But the Health Department said that while a restaurant gets a grace period, it doesn’t last as long as Zesty has received.

Most customers Wednesday didn’t care whether the shop has been cutting corners along with its pies.

"Not at all. I just go cause it tastes delicious,” said Christian Minich.

Added another customer, Merita Purellku: "If I had to give it a grade, I would give an A-plus."

Grimaldi, who is reportedly not related to the founders of the famous Grimaldi's pizzeria in Brooklyn, said those who complain just want a slice of his success.

"People are jealous. I think so," he said.

If the company fails to apply for a permit, additional enforcement actions will be taken and the restaurant risks being shut down, the Health Department said.

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