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Strand Smokehouse reopens for business

By Bill Parry

The Strand Smokehouse reopened for business on Thursday. The popular Astoria barbecue joint, at 25-27 Broadway, was shuttered by the Department of Health 21 days ago after the owner interfered with a routine inspection in August.

The Strand’s owner, Tom Vasilis, took exception to the inspector’s plan to check on Bakeway NYC, a bakery two doors away, at 25-21 Broadway. The bakery, which is owned by Vasilis, isd where the cooking is done for the Strand.

“It’s got an industrial-sized kitchen and that’s where we use the smoker so it doesn’t stink out the joint,” Vasilis explained, adding that the bakery had been inspected two weeks earlier. Vasilis refused inspection and ordered the inspector to leave.

The Department of Health said Vasilis used profanity and threw an equipment bag at the inspector during the encounter that got so heated police were called, although no charges were filed.

The Department of Health responded by yanking the permit for both operations, as well as another of Vasilis’ bakeries, also called Bakeway NYC, at 29-10 30th St.

All three passed inspection Monday and were allowed to reopen.

“To be honest I was pretty surprised all three passed,” Vasilis said.

He added that he missed a few details like covers on bottles that could have led to a legitimate failure if the inspector chose.

“I guess that proves their intent wasn’t to fail me,” Vasilis said.

Fifty people were out of work during the shutdown of the three operations, and all but three have returned.

Vasilis had his permit was suspended back in 2011 after a similar incident, but the owner claimed it won’t happen again.

“I’m going to stay out of their way from now on,” he said. “I’ll try to be absent during all future inspections.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718.260.4538.

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