Will NYC Restaurants Make the Grade?

Boston-based writer Rosamond Cummins remembers once reading a review posted in the window of a local restaurant. She noticed that the establishment had penned in an extra and unearned star.

Restaurants know just how important stars can be to their economic success.

Now, restaurants in New York City join those in Los Angeles and the Carolinas in striving for more than just the all-important star; they must also fight for an impressive letter grade, too. The Associated Press reported that all of New York City's 24,000 restaurants will soon earn As, Bs, or Cs based on their food safety and cleanliness inspections.

The New York State Restaurant Association is not pleased. While a parent can forgive a child for pulling a C average in physics, how many diners will continue to frequent restaurants with weak sanitation grades? Even small infractions—like towels missing from the washroom—can cost restaurants valuable points. Restaurateurs worry that the prominently displayed grades may scare off customers. Whether this system is fair depends on whom you ask.

The grades represent just one more piece of information diners can weigh when deciding where to eat, assuming they can trust the grade posted in the window.

Would a poor sanitation grade defer you from visiting your favorite spots? Chime in below!

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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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