This could be one of two things: a terrible hoax designed to put a New York salad staple out of business, or one of the worst health code violations of the internet age. A person eating at a Chop't location in Manhattan's Financial District allegedly discovered a pickle-sized mouse, dead and glassy-eyed, embedded in his or her wrap. The incident made the media rounds after two "colleagues" tweeted pictures of it.
The pictures have since been deleted by the people who posted them (and one of them seems to have deleted his entire Twitter account). The hush-hush reaction has led some to suggest the whole thing's a hoax — the old rubber rat in the wrap trick. And neither tweeter will reveal the name of their unfortunate friend, though Julia Casteleiro stands by what she saw: "believe what you want to - I sure wish I didnt see it. It could have been any place -restaurants need to be inspected more than once a year!"
Indeed, as Gothamist reports, this particular Pine Street Chop't received an A rating when it was inspected on Sept. 20, 2013 with a mere eight points against it and only one critical violation for the relatively innocuous unwashed surfaces "after each use." The shop has great health inspection reviews going back to 2010. (By comparison, a bunch of joints around the city have C grades and more than 30 points; click here to search the list.)
To be fair, wrap and rat sound very similar at a noisey lunch counter, but the New York City health regulations are clear. It's an automatic four- or five-point penalty if a health inspector finds that a facility is "not vermin proof" and has "conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist." One of Chop't's founders, Tony Shure, reached out to Casteleiro on Twitter, saying he wanted to speak with her and her colleagues immediately. He responded to Gothamist only to say that the restaurant was closed for the day for a "deep clean."
But anybody who's ever made a sandwich needs to be skeptical; dead mice don't get rolled up by accident. This was either malicious or made up. Unless there's some sort of investigation by the restaurant or the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, we may never know. And maybe since the lunch hour is coming around again that's not such a bad thing.