Salt Bae’s restaurant closes for allegedly violating COVID protocols

He’ll have to take this with a grain of salt.

Salt Bae, the Instagram-famous butcher and restaurateur, had his latest eatery shut down on Saturday — and its liquor license indefinitely suspended — just days after opening over citations that include COVID-19 protocol violations, according to the Boston Globe.

The restaurant in question is Nusr-Et Boston, which Salt Bae — a native of Turkey named Nusret Gökçe, who earned his moniker for his semi-sexual seasoning technique — opened on Sept. 18. Appearing to be the hottest table in town, the restaurant attracted large crowds outside on the street, an act in violation of Boston’s advisory against such gatherings, according to Universal Hub.

Salt Bae himself even posted a video to Instagram on Sept. 19 to share the buzz with his 30.3 million followers, which showed a crowd of well-dressed people on the sidewalk eager to get in — some of whom did not wear face masks. The Globe added that similar gatherings continued throughout opening weekend.

Gökçe, 37 — who owns dozens of restaurants around the world, including two in NYC — will have to answer for those violations at a virtual hearing on Tuesday.

A separate virtual hearing will deal with other alleged violations, such as blocked fire exits during a Sept. 23 inspection of the space and having refrigerators and dishwashers set at the wrong temperatures. Citing Boston city records, Fox noted that one of nine violations had been corrected.

In 2018, Gökçe ran into issues with health codes over salting diners’ meals and slicing meat with bare hands in the weeks after opening a New York City location. (He later used gloves to season.) Several months later, a former waiter sued him in federal court, charging Gökçe with withholding tips from his staffers.

Meanwhile, others online are talking about the celebrity chef for an entirely different reason: A TikTok of a woman twerking for Gökçe in the new Nusr-Et Boston restaurant has gone viral. In the video, the unidentified woman is seen dancing as Gökçe films her. Shortly after, a man enters the restaurant in a rage as the woman runs off. Twitter users were divided over the man’s reaction, with many saying the man’s anger was alarming.

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