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When a B is Just a B: Lessons From the DOH

We knew a B letter grade wouldn't stop the Mozza hordes. Yesterday a commenter suggested now would be the time to make---and actually get---a reservation: "People will be turned off by it so it won't be as busy, and the restaurant will hold itself to higher standards to make up for the slip up." It's actually quite logical; whether it worked or not is another story. For those who don't know or understand why a restaurant gets the rating it does, we did a little digging and came up with a few fun facts.

Per the Department of Health, while a B should be taken seriously, the whole idea is to stop any contamination before it happens. Mozza was cited for temperature violations, covering and labeling food, and keeping products off the floor among other things, mostly minor infractions (unless, say, a 50-pound paper sack of flour somehow got set in a pool of chemical-laden dishwater or something). But they add up. Naturally one of the most important is food temperature. The inspectors test food all over a commercial kitchen---in the walk-in refrigerator, at steam tables, at the stove. If the temp is just a little off, the inspector asks that the food get reheated or re-cooled and then retests. All's well if it tests well. If not: The food gets chucked. No, restaurant inspections during heat waves aren't easy on anyone.

Something new we learned: While it's true the reports are posted online, the website doesn't update in a particularly timely fashion. So if a customer is really curious, she can ask a restaurant for their DOH report, which should always be kept on the premises. If a restaurant doesn't comply, and the DOH catches wind, the restaurant will get cited and fined. Ouch. Also, a letter grade stays with the restaurant until the next inspection, which varies per location (some places get one visit a year, others three or four), but the restaurateur can pay a $243 fine to the DOH to reschedule an earlier visit. According to our source, Mozza already paid the fine.
· BREAKING: Mozza's B Rating [~ELA~]

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