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New York - Midtown Kosher Bistro Victimized In "Ghost" Restaurant Scam Uncovered By NBCNY I-Team Investigators

Published on: January 12, 2016 02:37 PM
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David Zinstein, Mike's Bistro managerDavid Zinstein, Mike's Bistro manager

New York, NY - Despite assurances from the food delivery sites Grub-Hub and Seamless that they would overhaul their restaurant verification process following an I-Team investigation  that unearthed dozens of “ghost” eateries, a follow-up by the news team reveals that at least one “ghost” kitchen is still operating, this time at the expense of a midtown Kosher bistro.

NBCNEWYORK.com (http://bit.ly/1UJD9TR) reports that the scam began to unravel when an I-Team rep ordered food from Seamless-sponsored Mike’s Bistro Asian Fusion said to be located on West 72nd Street.

When the I-Team got to the address, they found an empty restaurant with only an old Mike’s Bistro sign and a “For Lease” placard in the window.

With prior knowledge that Mike’s Bistro on 72nd Street was not listed on the city’s Department of Health grading website, an I-Team member placed an order of edamame and vegetable dumplings from the number on the suspicious Seamless listing.

Within minutes a man riding a bike came up 72nd Street with the order.

When pressed, the man could not reveal where the food was cooked and a callback to the restaurant ended quickly when the I-Team rep began asking questions.

In reality, the old Mike’s Bistro moved over a year ago to 54th Street and is operating as a Kosher eatery.

When shown the food, Mike’s Bistro manager David Zinstein said, “This is definitely not my food. We try to hold a very high standard. Especially in the Kosher world—which has to be Kosher food ... anything saying Mike’s Bistro could affect our business.”

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Read Comments (4)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 12, 2016 at 03:31 PM Yoely Says:

Lesson: people need to be more careful with hechsharim! Who knows how many Jewish people order from mikes bistro and got food from some non-kosher place?

2

 Jan 12, 2016 at 04:11 PM Mashgicha Says:

Reply to #1  
Yoely Says:

Lesson: people need to be more careful with hechsharim! Who knows how many Jewish people order from mikes bistro and got food from some non-kosher place?

Anyone who orders kosher from a place with a hechsher will reject the food if it arrives not properly sealed by the mashgiach.

3

 Jan 12, 2016 at 05:29 PM LionofZion Says:

Lesson: everyone knows mikes bistro is not Asian fusion and if you look at the offerings it is clearly not kosher food. Good job by the I team, but please don't knock Kosher consumers for mistakes they never made. If you must knock someone, make it the thugs going to jail every day for taking significant sums of money for beating up recalcitrant husbands.

4

 Jan 12, 2016 at 05:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Mashgicha Says:

Anyone who orders kosher from a place with a hechsher will reject the food if it arrives not properly sealed by the mashgiach.

How hard would it be to falsify that? I can scan any hechsher into my computer and print out a fake label, then use a food sealer to seal a package containing a "hechshered" ham sandwich. Where there is an actual kosher restaurant with the same name, a person who has eaten there and knows that the restaurant has a mashgiach and the food is certified kosher would not at all know that the food delivered was from a fake restaurant and had a fake certification. I do not know whether there have been any ghost restaurant deliveries with fake hechshers, but it is a foreseeable problem that will hurt kosher restaurants who rely on their reputations. There must be criminal investigations of the people perpetrating these scams.

5

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