EDITORIAL: About our health codes story

03/24/2011 5:54 AM |

Times/Review Newsgroup’s editorial department did not take lightly the decision to review health reports from restaurants and other eateries from Orient to Mount Sinai — about 500 in all that are subject to regular inspections — and publish our findings in stories in The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review newspapers and websites, as well as on Northshoresun.com. Many of these businesses are owned and operated by friends and neighbors who not only work in but also live in our communities.

During the reporting process, as we reached out to restaurant owners, we continued to hear what we considered to be a fair question: Why would a local news organization do a story that could harm local businesses?

From the moment we set out to do these stories, our intent was never to harm the very businesses that help form the backbone of our local economies. But it is, and always has been, our mission to print articles are compelling and inform our readers. We believe our readership is interested in learning about heath code violations at restaurants where they eat. Many readers, like the reporters and editors who worked on these stories, likely had not known such health reports were regularly published online.

But please keep in mind, the stories we have written provide only a snapshot of what has gone on in the restaurants as of late. The health department’s online list is constantly changing as new inspection reports are posted and old ones are expunged. An inspector may catch great restaurants on a bad day, and not-so-tidy ones on a good day.

We also found in our reporting that public health reports should not be taken as gospel.

For example, one of the published reports indicated a Riverhead restaurant was “in litigation” with the health department over alleged violations, which would mean the county has not been able to compel the establishment to conform to standards, either through training or repeat inspections. But that was posted in error and the report has since been corrected online. In another case, a Miller Place coffee shop’s listed violations came from an inspection report done during a prior ownership. In still another case, a Southold pizzeria’s inspection shouldn’t have been posted at all. The county has since removed that report from its website.

We would urge all potential patrons to call restaurant’s owners with any concerns, as many of the business owners we spoke to had sound explanations for why violations had occurred.

Despite flaws in the health department’s online system, this editorial staff and most restaurateurs interviewed agree the policy of publicly posting inspection reports, especially from repeat offenders, is an effective tool in keeping all kitchens in Suffolk County clean and preventing food-borne illnesses.

Holding restaurants to the highest standards will only serve to strengthen our local economy.



171 Comment

  • Does anyone realize that this “5300” square foot house is actually two stories, plus has a breezeway and a garage? If you look at the plans, which are public record, this house is actually between 13,000 and 14,000 square feet! Yikes! How would you like to live next door to that????????

  • What I want to know is how he was able to clear an historic structure in the first place… The old house was there was one of the last old estates out here…loads of period detail not to mention the barns on the property.
    This clown bought it as a complete tear down obviously. Why wasn’t there any public outcry before his monstrosity got to this point? Certainly when they were framing out the house there must have been some indication that it would be this big. now that it is 90% built what recourse do we have? the Planning Board can’t make the guy take it down… How can we work to change the legislation so this doesn’t happen AGAIN? How can we hold the Planning Board’s feet to the fire on this one?

  • A total travesty. Southold should be embarrased for allowing this to happen.
    Too many “mistakes” and “loopholes” have occured recently.
    We’ve allowed the “upislanders” to come out and ruin too much of our land. These people are not locals. They are pillagers.

  • It could have been prevented through 2 acre zoning!!!! this is something the north fork environmental council, just to name one, worked on FOR YEARS!!! The town placed moratorium after moratorium, nd during all this extra time….DID NOTHING!!! No upzoning. No nothing. You want someone to blame, sure this plce is an eyesore, but blame your town government for dragging its feet, doing study after expensive study with the end result of…..doing absolutely nothing.

  • I’ve walked by this house. It’s a shame….it really does change the character of the neighborhood. It’s a street of very personal homes with a lot of history behind them and now all of a sudden there’s this glaring McMansion in the middle of them. I can only hope that Mr. Battaglia plans on doing a lot of natural-looking landscaping to help integrate the home into the neighborhood better. He obviously bought the property because he liked the neighborhood. It’s just a shame that he’s done so much to alter the neighborhood.

  • This type of problem has happened in the Hampton for many years. The arrogant people come from NY and build oversize homes but meet the local zoning codes. What East Hampton and South Hampton have done to regulate this is to add a “Pyramid Overlay” to the Building code.

    Anyone building on a lot needs to submit a drawing that draws a pyramid of 45 degree lines from the property line inward. If the house fits inside the pyramid the building permit is issued.

    This works better on small lots but it would have helped in this case.

    If the Town residents do not want to have this type of home built in some other part of the Town you need to write letters or emails to the Town Board and ask for a “Pyramid Law” to protect the town from these types of building.

  • Hey, our zoning laws allowed it, the guy got a permit, and he built it. If you don’t like it, too bad. Either move away, or put up your own cash, and buy the empty lots while you can.

    But you won’t.

  • This is laughable….people build these houses because they can and not because they need the room. They build these houses because they have to feel superior to those around them. Jealousy…I think not. It’s just more to clean, more to break and nothing more than some”thing” for him to say “Hey look what I can do, look at what I have”. Success is NOT about how big the house is or the name on the car…obviously some people think so. I have never lived in anything bigger than 1600 sq ft homes..>I have everything that I need, have room to share with my family and friends and I can clean and maintain it myself….THAT is what I call SUCCESS.

  • GO Joe i think it is beautiful and you bet you azz they are jealous. Its high time these stick collectors mind there own business…. And yes I am serious

  • People do things like this because they “can” not because they “should”. Some are jealous…plopping a HUGE house in an area where others are NOT is nothing more than looking for attention and THAT is a shame.

  • People do things like this because they “can” not because they “should”. Some are jealous…plopping a HUGE house in an area where others are NOT is nothing more than looking for attention and THAT is a shame.

  • People do things like this because they “can” not because they “should”. Some are jealous…plopping a HUGE house in an area where others are NOT is nothing more than looking for attention and THAT is a shame.

  • I think your little shacks are an EYESORE! Mc mansions look great and they make a neighborhood look prestigious. Yes, I plan on voting for Trump And I have a lardge suv and eat fried food too. Now get off our backs.

  • u so funny…go the hell back to astoria

  • u so funny…go the hell back to astoria


  • People that build a house THAT out of character to the neighborhood obviously have no respect for others around them. It’s just how our world is today.

    The Eagles wrote “You call someplace Paradise, kiss it good-bye”. It’s true.

  • Every time I walk past that house I grimace, but it is not just the
    view that has been damaged. Just as serious is the environmental
    damage to the trees, nesting birds and shellfish. If he can do it
    once, he will do it again. Who’s to say he won’t max out the second
    lot if the town allows the subdivision?

  • I passed up buying a small cottage in this area because of this house. I came into the neighborhood and thought, oh no, what’s going on here? This house is totally out of character for what should be a quaint little group of smaller homes. Pity.

  • Obviously you do not get the North Fork. If you want to live within spitting distance of your neighbor and be able to hear their toilet flush I recommend that you try the Jersey Shore.

  • It is within his right to do so. Far to often have I heard stories of locals angered by the actions of us “weekenders”. You should be imbarrased by these comments. We are the reason the North Fork has become as popular as it is. Our houses, our cars, our culture, our ideals, and our knowledge all contribute to making Southold such a wonderful place. Southold could not function without us. We are what keeps your businesses afloat. It is the small shacks and lack of culture that is the real eyesore in Southold. It is also such a pity when one sits out on their balcany, and has their view tainted with the sight of fishermen. Southold “natives”, either get with the program or get out. We put up with you, learn to put up with us.

  • It just shows you what MONEY can do. Pockets get lined!!!

  • oh big deal, let this guy build his house. small town jealousy. mr bissett built a huge home in mattituck and guess what…..his taxes are $97k a year!! once battaglia’s home his built, think of the property taxes that can be assessed and contributed to the town!!

  • “small shacks”–you mean like the old farmhouses that have been here for hundreds of years before you? “Lack of culture”–you think is somehow rectified by building a McMansion, lacking any taste. You really think a huge, hiedeous house like this brings “culture”. Southold does have a culture, a feel, a vibe, and if you don’t/didn’t like it–move somewhere else. The Hamptons are overflowing with these fine examples of “culture”. Your cars are making this a better place? How deluded are you. You might try LA??? Complaining about fisherman…shows what an astute, cultured, world-traveler you must be. People like you deserve to be kidnapped and placed in the wild to fend for yourself. You are overstuffed and souless…congratulations.

  • Learn to spell.

  • Does he have a bunch of kids or just he and his spouse? I’m confused as to why someone would need all that space! Clearly it has the elements of arrogance and entitlement. I’m sure he could’ve built something that goes with the landscape–prestigious but more tasteful. His is not the only house either. I’m happy that Southold town has vineyards or else it would be one big, cement mall showcase after another. It would be a shame to loose it’s quaint appeal.

  • Makes me wonder if this could be Battaglia himself.

  • Makes me wonder if this could be Battaglia himself.

  • He got each of his permits under FALSE pretenses by submitting DIFFERENT PLANS to each of the agencies and persons who could comment on them, depending on the phase of construction or land clearing he was undertaking. (Read the article again.)

    And we did put up our own cash to buy the houses we own, which are being devalued being near this out-of-character structure.

    So, let us all know, when did you hit the Mega-Ball jackpot so you have endless amounts of money to buy up properties at whim?

  • A word to the weekenders,this man is not one of you. As a Southold resident I have welcomed most of you. You visit our winerys,farmstands and restaurants and we thank-you. He came out of no where and destroyed so much wetlands and beauty that the locals and weekender all love. He is one of a kind. The only shack in Southold is a very,very large one on Hobart road

  • how the hell do you know what he own or dosent own maybe you should own somthing to like your OWN business

  • If Lord Gardner built it 100 years ago you would all be trying to save it as a landmark. your east enders are full of it. The canoe place in is a rat trap yet ” We need to save the Inn ” LOLLLL

  • It might come as a shock, but Southold functions completely well from Monday through Friday (and from October through March, for that matter) without the influence of “weekenders”: Electricity flows, water runs, and stores remain open.

    Except for the galleries — they’re just for the weekenders.

    Southold has survived for roughly 400 years, without the injection of the “culture” from weekenders.

    We don’t close down wondering: whatever will we do without the “weekenders?”
    We just worry how disruptive they’ll be next year:

    The tipsy visitors driving from tasting to tasting at the vineyards:
    Hey kids, you’re not supposed to swallow!

    The crazed drivers trying to get back west on Sunday evenings, tailgating and speeding.
    Or going East, trying to get to the Cross Sound Ferry.

    You wrote: “We put up with you, learn to put up with us.”
    Remember, you’re the visitor.

    Be polite to your hosts.

  • Joe,I mean Eddie,learn how to spell

  • Uh-oh, someone’s T.W.I.:
    Typing While Intoxicated.

  • It’s a matter of public record.
    It’s REALLY easy to find out what this guy is about.

  • It is such a shame that you are a materialistic person and do not enjoy Southold for what it really is. Who cares about your houses, or cars. We would survive without your money. The small shacks you are refering to is historical and that is your lack of culture. Go to the other fork where everyone there cares what type of car you drive or can’t you afford it?

  • He has two daughters, a son, and a wife.

    Five people in not 5300 sq. ft., but over 12,000 sq. ft. including the garage.
    5,300 sq. ft. is the “footprint” of the house, but it’s two-and-a-half stories.

    The garage “footprint” is 2000 sq. ft. , and it, too, is two stories.

    Just imagine the energy impact on the environment to heat and cool this palazzo.
    That’s in keeping with the true American goal of reducing our energy dependency.

    It’s all a matter of public record.
    Dig a little and it’s all there.

  • I don’t think any of us are denying Mr. Battaglia the right to build a house — even a big one. But if you did your homework, neighbor, you’d find that he’s destroyed so much beauty by taking down countless trees, plowing over wetlands, backfilling the creek with boulders and destroying habitat. Throughout this whole process he has disobeyed the law and provisions put forward by the Planning Board and the Trustees, and shown blatant contempt for all of those who live in our community. Surely a large tax bill doesn’t compensate for that kind of abuse.

  • As quoted in the article:

    “So I own a monstrosity, but do you know me personally, my finances or what I do for a living?” [Mr. Battaglia] asked Mr. Fischetti. “He called me a shrewd person. I feel insulted. I have no relationship with Mr. Fischetti. I like my privacy.”

    If you like your privacy, then why build something so obviously large and controversial?
    Wouldn’t you want to keep yourself under the RADAR of people looking into your life?

    Yes, we do know your finances.
    Yes, we do know what you do for a living.

    Just a little digging and it’s all there.
    A matter of public record

  • Quote:
    “[1] I plan on voting for Trump And I have a [2] lardge suv and [3] eat fried food too.”

    1-Too bad you’re throwing your vote away, you could be making a difference.
    2-How can you afford to fuel your “lardge” barge?
    3-Keep it up with the fried food – you’ll pass away before you can do more harm.

    It’s easy to get off your back:
    I keep sliding off since it’s so greasy from all that fried food you’ve been eating.

  • City trash is what city trash does… When your use to living like rats in a laboratory maze this is how your mind works. Bigger is better, who cares what the surrounding neighborhood looks like, throw your trash out a moving car window, who cares what your neighbor thinks… Why should anyone be surprised by this ? The powers that be market our town to upisland trash, and it works ! They come, they trash, they destroy.

  • It’s very sad that so many people value their self-worth and the worth of others by zip codes and the size of homes. Southold, and what is left of the East End, is an historical, naturally blessed environment. It should remain that way. If you want to live somewhere because you think it makes you more impressive, but need to irreversibly alter it in order to maintain your lifestyle, maybe you don’t belong.

  • do it in greenport a few bucks and the bldg insp. wingate will look the other way

  • To anyone who comes from Queens or the south shore of Nassau County:

    THIS is why we stereotype you all.

  • This is waterfront. Where are our TRUSTEES ?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

    Shouldn’t they be protecting us from this type of trash???????

  • Sad, very Sad.

  • Can I get the Landscaping Job around the house..Hoza $10,per hour

  • In a “free” country like the USA, you should be able to build anything you want on YOUR property.Isn’t that what freedom is all about?

  • I have a hard time putting the house on Pequash Ave into the same category as the Battaglia house. Big for the lot perhaps, but at least it is traditional. The Battaglia house looks like a castle in a ferry tale that is set in northern New Jersey.

  • Sorry, Fairy tale. I have other things on my mind.

  • Yeah. Snookie’s fairy tale!

  • Bill, does that mean that you should do it outside of the confines of the law? This isn’t about size or taste. None of us can legislate that. This is about the wanton disregard of the restrictions our town has given him. And the need for the town to protect its residents from him doing it again. At what point to the so called “freedoms” of the individual start impinging on the freedoms of others. We have the freedom to enjoy untainted wetlands, we have the freedom to quietly enjoy our yards and our property, we have the freedom to enjoy the natural barriers that Southold Town has worked so hard to preserve. Does his so call “freedom” to do as he pleases allow him to take that away from us?

  • Even the illegals get 15+ per hour, don’t under sell yourself.

  • LOL turn the sarcasm off, you can’t believe that. It used to be when you walked down Love Lane in Mattituck, people smiled and said hi, even if you didn’t know them. Due to the influx of outsiders to Mattituck, now there’s just a lot of people averting their eyes like they do when they’re in Manhattan.

    Regarding this house, yes it’s his taste and his money, however it looks as if he was deceptive when getting the permits. I don’t understand why someone wants to build a lot line-to lot line house. Look at Westhampton Dunes, it looks like Queens. This person has bucks, but not enough bucks to build in the Hamptons where this home may fit in. I think his screaming lack of taste and his inferiority complex are hanging out for all to see, but I’m glad I don’t live near him, I can understand his neighbors’ angst and I can’t blame them. Obviously this man has a very small penis.

  • Sure BIll. I hope one ofyour neighbors opens a brothel and the other a junkyard.

  • He owns a car body shop and you don’t understand how he can afford all this? Are you serious? I think that, coupled with the vowel ending name, says it all.

  • That’s NOTHING compared to this one.

  • The point is that there is almost no yard left.

    The future of the North Fork depends on limiting the number, sizes, and adverse environmental impacts of buildings.

    The development on Hobart Road is extreme but it is far from unique.

  • there goes the neighborhood

  • Just like I said the other day. Pockets get lined!!!

  • I am a Shelter Island weekender I respect locals and have got nothing but respect in return. “Weekender” you are making us all look like assholes. I assure all locals the ones of us who buy our own houses out east and don’t go out there because mommy and daddy are somewhat successful would never be so disillusioned to say we bring the culture. With that said there should be some appreciation for what we do for the local economy.

  • I’ll bet you don’t even know the half of it. If he treats his neighbors like this now, imagine what he’ll be like in the future.

    Oh and Bill, freedom is great but freedom has responsibilities.

  • That was my first thought.

    I have a feeling that the EPA doesn’t know about this. If someone is interested, contact the NYS EPA in Albany to investigate the timeline of this particular property.

    Something smells illegal here and not just on the homeowner’s behalf.

  • Really Mr. T? Serious? Is that a threat?

  • Have the Sopranos moved out east?

  • Well, maybe someone named RICO might solve this problem

  • It looks like their home in Cold Spring Harbor.

  • That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever read. What do you mean by ‘our culture”? Because that was the best part. That’s what the Jersey Shore is for representing your culture.

  • His real name is Joey half pants.

  • Who are you kidding Weekender? You don’t spend your money in our little shops we don’t even have a car dealership you would buy a car from in Southold…

  • It’s too late now. We had a similar thing happen, neighbor built huge house, bulldozed all the trees right down to the wetland. We notified the EPA, the stopped construction for a year (so for a year we had a foundation with sand blowing all over the place), fined him, and he continued. He put some sticks down by the wetland, and once the house was built he ripped them out. THe EPA is useless. Back at the height people would bulldoze on the sound so they’d have a view. Then the EPA would fine them and that was that. SO the rich guy got his view and the EPA or DEC or whomever, got their payoff.

  • 1600 sq ft house… I have trouble cleaning my 720 sq foot mobile home. We have plenty of space to entertain here, I can’t understand why you would need to show off with your monstrosity that is almost 2.5 times larger than my home.

    Success is about feeling happy and accomplished regardless what you do to get that feeling. Success is just an idea tied to a perception it has no set rules, you are as successful as you feel you are. This man is bringing money into a struggling economy and you should all be embracing his contributions and be happy that he is supporting the businesses around here.

    The “locals” here (meaning the more American Indian type) would be disgusted by all your boats that spit toxins into the water and big green lawns that need fertilizers to stay green. You all need to get over yourselves a little bit and allow others the freedoms that you insist on having for yourselves. Bake a damn pie, knock on the door and WELCOME your new NEIGHBOR to the area. As a working class East-Ender for all my 35 years, I welcome you Joe and hope you have a good life here and treat the residents better than they have you.

  • I hate playing both sides of the fence as I commented above that this Joe guy should be welcomed but I’ve read too many comments from part timers here like this guy who actually thinks Hampton Bays is one of the real “Hamptons”… Easthamptoners spit on you as much as you spit on us locals, you are just too deluded from all the cocaine in the Foggy Goggle to see it.

    You cannot measure a man’s worth by what he has in his bank account, you will figure this out but it will be too late by then. I DARE you to go into one of the fisherman’s bars around your weekend home and show your true attitude toward your part time neighbors, those guys have forearms built by work not the gym and earned muscle hurts much more.

  • It is very sad, indeed, to see and read all of these ethnic slurs from the supposedly “Americans” in Southold. We institute laws to protect our environment and if people work within the law then it is their right. We all have different tastes, and yes – sometimes something distasteful happens. Learn from it and prevent it. But personal attacks like these are really disgusting. Personally I think the development on Rte. 25 – with all the ugly banks going up ruins this area more than a house or two. I only hope the house owners realize that they are part of a community and are not out on the east end to trash it up.

  • dear “Guest” – after reading your response on wind turbines and then finding this post, i can’t help but think you might be bi-polar. or maybe just have a huge mouth that you don’t know how to control. shouldn’t you just heed your own words and “move away” if the windmills are bothering you? you are making yourself look like quite the hypocrite

  • Mr. Battaglia does not care about the neighborhood or his neighbors. Those that comment really do not know. He has brought contractors from Nassau county to build this home. He works on Saturdays and Sundays. last year he had contractors working on Memorial day, 4 th of July and Labor day. He works most nights till dark. with noise from his backhoe droning for hours into the night.

    This is not going to be his home. That is just a sham.

  • Why do people try to change everything about other people that bothers them??? The trick to all of this co-existing crap is that we have to fight the battles that matter (NOT SAYING this one does not matter) and leave the others by the wayside. I’d use this large, imposing house to my advantage if I could… I’d clean it weekly on an hourly basis, at 25 dollers/hr for 8hrs.. make my little change purse rattle and happily move on with my life. There’s no sense in putting out there all this negative press. If he has the funding and the permits.. good for him. No good will come from “This one is saying this and this one is saying that.. ad infinitum”

  • Something that we have been doing for centuries. How else have towns and cities been built since the first person got off the Mayflower.. who took the land of the Native Americans for that matter. So this is nothing new, get over yourselves.

  • I think mr.battaglia’s right all you people probably are jealous. He did everything by the books you all act like he’s doing something illegal. You all need to calm down. How can you make accusations of him being in the mob just because he’s italian. Just calm down

  • Don’t be ignorant

  • Absolutely! That way when he opens the door, you can pie him in the face! Yes, let ALL of his neighbors bring him a pie!

  • >> all of this co-existing crap
    makes sense. Unlike property rights absolutists who act like each property is separate. most property lines have no natural significance.

    >> If he has the funding and the permits.. good for him.
    Neither money nor laws guarantee goodness.

  • Go and welcome the new neighbor. Your right, he is succesful enough to build a large home that doesn’t mesh well with the community. It’s just plain unnecessary. Rather than spend money on a lavish home that means absolutely nothing more than “look at me”, I will stimulate our local economy by shopping, donating and giving of myself into the community. When I leave this blessed life I have been honored to have…I will have made as little impact on the environment and put my family, friends and neighbors first.

  • It’s HIS property! As long as he is doing everything by the books, he is doing nothing wrong. This community is changing. Get over it. He bought it fair and square-get over it! Change is imminent people! Leave the guy alone…I agree…You are all jealous-I would be.

  • As a southold resident…you small town, inbread thinkers need not mind of only yourselves.
    Cry,cry,cry all you want and try to find a victory against this man you do not know. just to say,
    look at what we have done, we stopped an “outsider”. This is not a new development for multi-residents who will further clog our roadways and neighborhoods. I’m embarrased to be neighbors with most of you. By the way I am not an up-islander. Expand your small town minds or your box you live in will only get smaller.

  • We would rather you buy in Riverhead anyway. To this I say thanks Joe!

  • You think this house is bad? At least it fits nicely on the property and leaves plenty of room to the side, assuming it does not get subdivided. I suggest you take a ride down North Sea Rd. and Leeton Dr. in Southold where the new homes, some of which Joe Fischetti represented, that replaced the old cottages and beach shacks now throw such a huge shadow on the neighbors, they can’t even get a sunburn anymore at their beach bungalow…. Hypocrites all.

  • Homeowner in the USA?What a joke nobody owns a home in the USA,you are just renting from the governments.

  • I’m pretty sure you are exaggerating here. The DEC and the EPA monitor this area. Let’s be honest here for a moment and think like business people, not tree huggers – building a house of this size contributes a great deal to the economy, especially on a local level, and will continue to do so. Do you think this guy is cutting his own lawn, installing sprinklers himself, servicing his central A/C, or plowing his own driveway?? If we keep trying to keep wealthy people from spending in our towns, they will eventually go elsewhere. I am not saying that we should let them run wild, but to allow a certain amount of it is great for this town.

  • i’d caution both of you on your ethic stereotypes. it’s offensive and slanderous.