Donovan’s shuttered in Woodside by city

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A Woodside eatery with a long reputation of serving the best burgers in New York City has been closed for health violations, according to records from the city Department of Health.

The department cited Donovan’s Pub, at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave., with 66 violation points last Thursday and shuttered a restaurant that has been a mainstay on top 10 lists of best burgers in the city.

The most egregious of the violations, of which there were eight, were cold food held at a temperature above 41 degrees, contaminated food items, not using a thermometer or thermocouple to measure potentially hazardous food, inadequate working refrigeration and live roaches, the Health Department said.

An employee at Donovan’s Pub said Tuesday that the staff was working to reopen. Joe Donovan, the owner, denied his restaurant was hazardous´╗┐ in an interview with the New York Post.

“This is New York City,” Donovan told the Post. “You can’t take me into any building on Roosevelt Avenue and tell me there’s no roaches.”

The DOH said in an e-mail it held a reopening inspection Friday, but Donovan’s failed because of the roaches and conditions conductive to vermin.

“The pub must correct all cited violations in order for the Health Department to schedule another reopening inspection,” the DOH said.

This is not the first time the beloved pub has run afoul of the DOH. During the pub’s last inspection May 21, the restaurant received 67 violation points, with “critical” violations like the presence of flies and mice as well as food preparation problems.

Donovan told the Post he believed the city was “over-enforcing” his establishment.

“This is our ninth inspection since October,” Donovan told the Post. “It used to be once a year.”

The pub, one of many along a stretch in Woodside, has been an institution in the neighborhood since 1966 and has received numerous accolades for its large burgers in newspapers, magazines and food blogs. CBS New York put Donovan’s Pub on its list of best burgers last month, and Time Out New York had named the pub’s burger as the best in the city in 2004.

There is another Donovan’s, at 214-16 41st Ave., in Bayside, although Donovan sold the Bayside spot three years ago and the restaurants are no longer affiliated. Donovan’s of Bayside has an “A” rating with the DOH.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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