How clean is your favorite NYC restaurant?

February 1, 2009 10:03:04 AM PST
So-- just how clean is your favorite restaurant? Would you give it an "A","B" or "C"? City officials believe you have right to know -- that's one of the reasons they're implementing a new grading system for health inspection scores. And that grade will have to be posted where diners can see it.

The restaurant lettering system will be phased in over the next two years and posted prominently in the windows. This will give consumers a chance to see what health inspectors have to say, without doing any research.

New York City's known for the best restaurants in the world, but now there's hope it'll be among the cleanest with the new mandate phased in.

"It's a wonderful idea because we were just taking a walk across this whole street.. .deciding which restaurant looked like it was clean and acceptable," New Jersey resident Judy McClellan says.

McClellan says like many others -- she often goes by word of mouth for what's in step with the latest trend. But, how reliable is that?

"How different is that from other surveys?they change overtime," another woman said.

To help consumers make better public health decisions -- today New York City's health commissioner announced a plan to letter grades in windows.

The letters "A", "B", or "C" will be in plain sight based on three full inspections every year.

Presently, most New York City restaurants have only one.

"We have only less than a third of restaurant that would get an "A". we hope to see that number go up to from the current, 31 percent to 40, 50, 60, 70 percent," said NYC Health Commissioner, Dr. Friedman.

"I think that New York City's public deserves when they go to a restaurant -- that the only thing on the menu is what they actually paid for," Sen. Jeff Klein, (D) Bronx/Westchester said.

But critics worry the letter grades will mislead consumers and punish a restaurant that potentially had one bad day.

But city leaders believe this letter grade system will put everyone on their "A" game, so to speak. And provide incentive for those who have a "C" hanging in their window, to clean up their act.

"Restaurant are expensive -- everything is expensive. The more information we can have, the more protection, the better," Manhattan resident Raina Grossman said.

Anyone from Los Angeles -- knows exactly what this system is, because it has been in place there since the 1980s. When it was implemented there, not even half of the restaurants received A's. But at this point, more than 80 percent have A's, so that seems to be proof that it works.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick