The Health Department conducts unannounced inspections of restaurants at least once a year, that give the establishment the letter grade you see in the window. This is in addition to random, spot inspections that do not result in a letter grade.

Inspectors check for compliance in:

  • food handling
  • food temperature
  • personal hygiene
  • facility
  • equipment maintenance
  • and vermin control

Each violation is assigned a certain number of points, with the more severe having a higher value.
The lower the score, the better the Grade.

  • 0-13 points is an A
  • 14-27 points a B
  • 28 or more points is a C.
There are five different condition levels based on severity and point value,
Level 1 having the fewest points (something like finding a single contaminated/spoiled food item equals 7 points). Four or more contaminated food items would be Level 4, with a 10 point deduction.
Level 5 is the worst condition and carries the most points.

Violations fall into three categories:
A public health hazard, like not keeping food at the right temperature (41° for cold, 140° for hot), would be a deduction of 7 points, minimum, if the situation cannot be fixed before the inspection ends, the Health Department may shut down the restaurant.

A critical violation, (marked on the site with critical violation) such as serving raw vegetables without washing them first, has a score of 5 points.

A general violation, like improperly thawing of food, holds a minimum point value of 2 points.

Some violations are cited, but do not count against the score. (Not posting the food permit)

Letter Grades

Two types of inspections result in a letter grade: initial inspections for which the restaurant earns an A and re-inspections that result in an A, B or C.

A restaurant has two chances to earn an A in every inspection cycle.

If it doesn't earn an A on the first inspection, it's scored but ungraded. An inspector goes back to the restaurant unannounced, typically within a month, to inspect it again and the re-inspection is graded.

If the grade is a B or C, the restaurant will receive a grade card and a grade pending card. It can post either card until it has an opportunity to be heard at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Health Tribunal.