One year ago today, the city Department of Health started grading restaurants “A,” “B” and “C.” Now the results are in: You’ll have to hop on the Staten Island ferry to get to the cleanest eateries in New York.
According to Metro’s analysis of the Department of Health’s data, 73 percent of Staten Island’s graded restaurants earned an “A” — higher than the citywide average of 69 percent.
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Still, some New Yorkers doubt the integrity of the city’s much-touted program. “I could care less about Staten Island,” said private concierge Zayna Abdul, 32, of Brooklyn.
Abdul says she pays attention to grades, but she also thinks there might be holes in the system.
Restaurant owners and industry experts say the methodology is unfair.
“This system causes small-business owners anxiety, fear and sleepless nights,” said Andrew Rigie, of the New York Restaurant Association. “A ‘B’ or a ‘C’ can mislead the public. If a restaurant is safe enough to serve the public, it should not be punished.”
The health department’s one-year program has also been marred by news of bribery allegations. In February, Jacob Isakov, the 26-year-old owner of Gan Eden restaurant on West 47th Street, was arrested when he attempted to bribe a DOH inspector with $100 for a favorable grade.
"There's a game being played behind the letters," Jason Stevens, the owner of reBar in DUMBO, said. "I've never bribed an inspector — which is obvious, because I've never gotten an 'A.'"
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro