NYC Restaurant’s “Grade Pending” Score Explained

Grade Pending

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:

Grade A
0 to 13 points for sanitary violations.

Grade B
14 to 27 points for sanitary violations.

Grade C
28 or more points for sanitary violations.

Grade Pending
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.


Let’s talk!

Would you eat at a restaurant displaying a “Grade Pending”? Why or why not?

About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Unknown Mami October 26, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Yuck! I know mice are prevalent everywhere, but I wouldn’t want to eat where I know they are.
    Unknown Mami recently posted..El Qué Dirán

  • Rosie October 26, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Migdalia, around my house the restaurants with C grade are always packed. Yuck!!

  • Mercedes @BeChicMag October 26, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I know! It freaks me out and I get so disappointed when a place I thought would be great isn’t as good as we thought.

  • Jenny @simmerandsteam October 26, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Yuck! I cannot believe this! thank you for posting this seriously vital information. I will certainly think twice about where i go for dinner!
    Jenny @simmerandsteam recently posted..Honey-Lavender Panna Cotta

  • Helena October 26, 2011, 3:09 pm

    OMG! Eating at home is def the way to go :)

  • Leslie @ Motherhood in Mexico October 26, 2011, 4:03 pm

    I would have thought the same thing if I had seen one of those “Grade Pending”signs. But now if I ever see one, I know better! :)
    Leslie @ Motherhood in Mexico recently posted..A Killer Homework Assignment

  • Sandra October 26, 2011, 5:22 pm

    mmmmm i eat mi home its better

  • Sujeiry, 1st Lady of Love October 26, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Wow! Glad to know this information and that link to find the restaurants so we can see about those mice lol. I prefer not eating our for many reasons, but this tops the cake!
    Sujeiry, 1st Lady of Love recently posted..Becoming An Author

  • Lisa Quinones Fontanez October 26, 2011, 8:37 pm

    eeeewwwwwwwwww –
    Thanks so much for explaining this one!

  • Rachel October 27, 2011, 11:02 am

    Grade pending sends me on my way. If I see it, I keep it moving. I am so happy the City decided on this grade keeping method. It makes me, the customer, feel a little better :) Thanks for the great information!
    Rachel recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: A Pumpkin Playground

  • Morena October 27, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Thanks for letting me know this! I’ll be more careful and look for that grade next time I eat out.
    Morena recently posted..WORDLESS WEDNESDAY – Breakfast at Home

  • Patricia October 30, 2011, 6:35 pm

    This is awsome. Yes I want to know what is going on where I eat. You never know. Ignorance is not bliss.

  • ellen October 31, 2011, 9:41 pm

    We dont have this in our town and now I am all grossed out. I know they can be very picky when grading but they get warnings when the Health Dept is gonna show up (least here they do) Thats just gross no wonder I eat at home!

  • Dan C April 11, 2012, 8:10 pm

    If you want to see inspection results on your iPhone/iPad/iTouch, check out Grade Pending in the App Store. Free, and works even when you don’t have Internet access (in the subway, for example).

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