While state Department of Health data on inspections show that the last look into the restaurant at the Woodstock Lodge was on May 7 — when owners Carlo and Annie Pombo were posted with three major violations — Ulster County health officials in charge of the oversight of restaurant and lodging permit processes were still unavailable to talk about such matters this week. They did say they were aware of a growing number of public comments about the place and its problems ever since Travel Channel ran a “Rotting Woodstock” episode on the place on its “Hotel Impossible” show two weeks ago.
According to state data, the violations listed (among dozens for area restaurants) included, “Item 8E- Accurate thermometers not available or used to evaluate refrigerated or heated storage temperatures; Item 10B- Non-food contact surfaces and equipment are improperly designed, constructed, installed, maintained (equipment not readily accessible for cleaning, surface not smooth finish); Item 15A- Floors, walls, ceilings, not smooth, properly constructed, in disrepair, dirty surfaces.”
Meanwhile, the Lodge and its Havana Club bar and grill continued to stay open for drinks until 4 a.m. daily. Their Facebook page, however, filled up with angry epithets about its owners and cleanliness. Woodstock Times, meanwhile, received numerous online comments wondering why the place was still open, and why people still went to the place. Several people who noted problems with late night rowdiness and possible illegalities, suggested former clients of the place file a class action suit against it, or that the Pombos “do the right thing” and toss in the towel before being closed down by the state.
“Such a shame that the board of health in this county is so incompetent to allow such a dangerous situation to continue for any amount of time, even up to 17 years,” was one note among many. “Thank you to the travel channel for exposing this crime. I hope that they visit every place that has those kind of reviews — someone should — and apparently it’s not the concern of the board of health.”
Last week, Annie Pombo said that she and her husband couldn’t talk about their business, or the Travel Channel, because of a pending lawsuit they were filing.
As for the UC Department of Health, repeated calls to Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith yielded the news, from secretaries, that she’s been busy over the past two weeks “dealing with Ebola” and new state guidelines being proposed, which have allegedly kept her in “endless phone conferences and unable to deal with other issues for the moment.”
Department officials did, however, add that Dr. Smith would get back to Woodstock Times at first opportunity.