I recently discovered what “Grade Pending” signage means for a restaurant in New York City.
To bring you up to date, New York City started giving food service establishments, aka restaurants, a letter grade based on the food safety requirements of the New York City Health Code and the State Sanitary Code in mid 2010.
I used to believe that a “Grade Pending” was posted because the retaurant had not been inspected. I was dead wrong. It seems a “Grade Pending” is posted when a restaurant does not do well in the inspection and they are appealing their score. NYC gives the restaurant time to appeal because honestly who wants to eat an establishment with a “C” score? I know I don’t!
According the nyc.gov website:
Grades reflect how well a restaurant complies with the food safety requirements of the New York
City Health Code and the State Sanitary Code. When inspectors examine a restaurant’s sanitary
conditions and practices, they assign numerical points for different violations of the Health Code.
Different violations carry different numbers of points, depending on their nature and severity. The
total number of violation points provides a measure of the restaurant’s general condition. Under the
new system, the Health Department will use the scores from certain inspections to generate letter
grades that are easier to interpret. Here are the grades:
0 to 13 points for sanitary violations.
14 to 27 points for sanitary violations.
28 or more points for sanitary violations.
A restaurant’s B or C grade is not final until the restaurant has had the
opportunity to go before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Health Tribunal to
contest the violations cited against it. Until then, the restaurant has the option to post either
the preliminary grade or a card that says “Grade Pending.” Once the grade is final, the
restaurant must immediately post the letter grade card and take down the Grade Pending card.
Sanitary violations fall into 3 categories:
1. A public health hazard, such as failing to keep food at the right temperature, triggers a
minimum of 7 points. If the violation can’t be corrected before the inspection ends, the
Health Department may close the restaurant until it’s fixed.
2. A critical violation, for example, serving raw food such as a salad without properly washing
it first, carries a minimum of 5 points.
3. A general violation, such as not properly sanitizing cooking utensils, receives at least 2
While looking at restaurants in my area I found several that had as much as 82 points! Some with “Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.” WOW! If saving money wasn’t reason enough to eat at home, this definitely gave me an incentive!
To find out if about a restaurant near you, go to nyc.gov/health/restaurants.
Would you eat at a restaurant displaying a “Grade Pending”? Why or why not?